Beyond Representation

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Psychic Garden: Garden City
natural environment, images, patterns imaginative places, spaces, imitating universals, intangible forces, influence of other artists, Jean Miro, Paul Klee, artist's tools, artist painting methods, abstract expressionism, subconscious and painting, painting surfaces, building up painting surfaces, otherworldliness, spirituality, personal maps, meditation on the world around, surface texture, encaustic, tempera, sand, acrylic, artist's palette, line, verticality of design, whimsy in art, spontaneity, rural, pattern, motion, whimsical,
description

Country living places Popoff in immediate contact with the natural environment in her daily life. It enables her to commune with her surroundings, extract images and patterns from what she observes and imaginatively transform these impressions into her paintings. In Popoff’s art, she creates vibrant imaginative places and spaces that have not previously been seen or experienced.

Popoff work

Popoff comments about her work, ”It is a personal map, an exploration: my meditation of the world around me from the tiniest particle unseen, to the impressive and infinite sky. My work is constructed from sounds such as the birds and the wind, tastes and smells like the crisp winter air.” (Popoff 2008). Popoff’s work is not about realistic representation of these things, as Norm Zepp comments, “Popoff has long been concerned with imitating universals, known and unknown, rather than the reflection of specifics such as landscape or a factual thing. (Zepp 2007)

In Psychic Garden: Psychic City Popoff represents the forces and energies that are often intangible or indescribable in nature. For Popoff, watching the plants in her garden grow, transform and propagate is a miraculous cycle. This process can imply that there may be greater forces at work beyond the known realm of scientific knowledge. By closely integrating her subconscious, imagination and experiences into her  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  style, Popoff is able to visually communicate ideas of otherworldliness or spirituality.

start quotePainting was always my love, you know, the canvas and constructing the art and that space was always what I really was challenged by and was excited by.end quote-- Alicia Popoff

In Psychic Garden: Psychic City Popoff creates a textural  surface(an element of art) The outer or topmost boundary or layer of an object. Colours on any surface are determined by how incident rays of light strike it, and how a surface reflects, scatters, and absorbs those rays. The material qualities of a surface, as well as its form and texture further determine how it is seen and felt. (artlex.com) See also texture.  on her paper using encaustic, sand,  acrylicSynthetic paints, with pigments dispersed in a synthetic vehicle made from polymerized acrylic acid esters, the most important of which is polymethyl methacrylate. First used by artists in the late 1940s, their use has come to rival that of oil paints because of their versatility. They can be used on nearly any surface, in transparent washes or heavy impasto, with matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finishes. Acrylic paints dry quickly, do not yellow, are easily removed with mineral spirits or turpentine, and can clean up with soap and water.(Artlex.com)  and  temperaA paint and process involving an emulsion of oil and water. It was in use before the invention of oil paints. Traditionally it involves an egg emulsion; thus the term egg tempera. The pigments or colours are mixed with an emulsion of egg yolks (removed from their sacs) or of size, rather than oil, and can be thinned and solved with water. Also known as egg tempera and temper. A varnish for tempera paints, called glair may be prepared by mixing egg whites with a little water, then beating them, and applying once the bubbles are gone. Because some of its ingredients are organic, tempera may spoil, and get very smelly. Claims have been made that when any one of the following substances are added, it reverses the growth of bacteria in tempera: benzoate of soda, bath salts, table salt, soap or cleanser such as 409, alcohol or bleach (one capful per gallon of tempera). (Artlex.com)  paint. Her  paletteA slab of wood, metal, marble, ceramic, plastic, glass, or paper, sometimes with a hole for the thumb, which an artist can hold while painting and on which the artist mixes paint. Anything from ice trays to disposable paper or Styrofoam plates might be used as a palette. A pane of glass with a white piece of paper attached to its underside makes a fine palette. It's especially versatile because the color of the paper back can be made to match a painting's ground, making colors easier to choose. The term "palette" may also refer to the range of colors used in a particular painting or by a particular artist. (artlex.com)  consists of tonal variations of white and black paint with touches of a warm red mixed into some areas. The prominent dark lines in the  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  add a strong verticality to her  designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  and define or outline many of her forms. The over-all  patternRepeating lines, colours or shapes within a design.  has a sense of motion, spontaneity and whimsy.

Popoff’s work has a lot to do with process as she constructs the surfaces of her paintings with layers of paint. There is a physicality and tactility created in her paintings as she builds up and scrapes away her  imageryAn image is a picture, idea, or impression of a person, thing, or idea; or a mental picture of a person, thing, or idea. The word imagery refers to a group or body of related images. (Artlex.com)  with a  varietyPrinciple of design concerned with difference or contrasts.  of kitchen, dental and hardware tools, brushes and scrapers and simple  foundAn image, material, or object, not originally intended as a work of art, that is obtained, selected, and exhibited by an artist, often without being altered in any way. The cubists, dadaists, and surrealists originated the use of found images / materials / objects. Although it can be either a natural or manufactured image / material / object, the term readymade refers only to those which were manufactured. Also known in the French, objet trouvé. (Artlex.com)  objects. Norm Zepp comments on her working methods, ”…she freely wipes, paints, forms and constructs, revealing that she is at once an  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (Artlex.com)  -expressionist, symbolist, colour-field practitioner and more.” (Zepp 2007)

Many of Popoff’s personal interests and studies also provide some inspiration for her work. The breadth of these sources range from poetry and music, to quantum physics and Buddhism. Art historical influences on Popoff’s  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  and choice of  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter are artists like Paul Klee, with his use of fanciful elements, and Joan Miro with her exploration into the subconscious. In the Saskatoon area, some artists who have had an impact on Popoff’s development as an artist are Mina Forsyth, Stanley Day (ARTSask -Structures), Warren Petersen and William Epp.

additional resources Influence of the Prairie
Duration: 1:24 min
Size: 6324kb
Political Science to Art
Duration: 0:48 min
Size: 3644kb
Psychic Garden
Duration: 2:32 min
Size: 110718kb
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References

Moppett, George.  Alicia Popoff:  Lost in the Garden.  Exhibition catalogue.  Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1999.

Popoff, Alica. Prairie Meditation.  Unpublished Document, 2008.

Zepp, Norman.  Alicia Popoff:  Artists with their work.  Exhibition catalogue.  Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1983.

Zepp, Norman.  Alicia Popoff, Essence and Flow.  Exhibition catalogue.  Art Gallery of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, 2006.

 

 

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning