Sunday, March 29, 2009

Art Space Talk: Steven Bogart

Steven Bogart combines oil and rustoleum paints in a variety of consistencies to achieve complex abstractions. Bogart states that he finds inspiration from nature, cosmology, physics, biology, music and surrealism. His work is an ongoing exploration of spontaneous intricacies, chaos and thought. Each painting is an emotional experience in capturing something beautiful and surprising.

Dolichopodidae by Steven Bogart

Brian Sherwin: Steven, what can you tell us about your academic background concerning art? Did you study art formally? Tell us about your art studies in general-- any influential instructors?

Steven Bogart: I received my BFA in painting from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. While I was attending the Museum school I worked with several great instructors: Kaji Aso, and T.Lux Feininger were two important teachers. But I also owe a great deal of gratitude to my two high school art teacers, Richard Fendorak, and Wilhem Wybanger. Without them I may not have found myself in art.

BS: Tell us about yourself. At what point did you gain an interest in creating visual art?

SB: I was interested in art from the time I was seven years old. My stepmother and my father exposed me to the art world through museums and art books. Between the ages of 7 and 12, I used to copy the paintings of Toulouse Lautrec, Kees Van Dongen and Alexei von Jawlensky
Gamma by Steven Bogart

BS: Can you tell us about your art? Give us some insight into the thoughts behind your art?

SB: Over the past thirty years I have explored both surrealism and abstraction. For the past five years I’ve moved to purely abstract painting. My work is influenced by cosmology, nature and ideas about the universe, i.e., chaos theory, quantum theories, light, fractals, and space.
I often draw specific inspiration from the sky and the space between tree branches. I’m interested in discovering something beautiful and unexpected. It often takes me several canvases to find one that works for me. I want my paintings be compel the viewer from a distance and entice them to move closer, while viewing the work close up creates a very different experience.
Medusa's Dream by Steven Bogart

BS: Steven, can you discuss your process in general? Are there any specific techniques that you utilize?

SB: I spend a good amount of time preparing a luminous space using oil colors that eventually function as both background and areas that come forward into the foreground. The images that play on the surface of the canvas are created from mixing enamel paints in various combinations.

BS: What about other influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists?

SB: I used to have very strong ties with Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Mark Rothko, and Turner. I also love Pollock. There was a frustrating period where I couldn’t seem to escape the influence, but something happened five years ago that exploded my work into a voice that I feel is now uniquely mine. I think the influences can still be felt, but they are like echoes now. Some artists that I feel a kindred spirit with now are artists like Barbara Takenaga, Sarah Walker, Matthew Richie and Terry Rose. If you have a chance to google these artists and take a look, you won’t be disappointed.
Elephant by Steven Bogart

BS: So what is the specific message you strive to convey to viewers? Do you adhere to a specific philosophy as far as your work is concerned?

SB: I hope that my paintings are filled with beauty and the excitement of the unknown.

BS: What are you working on at this time?

SB: I’m working on a series of paintings called, As Form Falls Away.

BS: What are your thoughts concerning the internet and utilizing the World Wide Web in order to gain exposure for your art? In your opinion, why is it important for artists to embrace the internet?

SB: I think the internet is great, and allows for artists to connect more with each other.

BS: Will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?

SB: Presently, I a have solo exhibit on line with the Caladan Gallery, and I’m in a group show that opens March 21 at Artspace Maynard Gallery called, Edge.

BS: Steven, do you have any concerns about the art world at this time?

SB: I don’t have any real concerns. I love how the art world is eclectic and filled with so much great talent. However, for myself, I’m having a very difficult time find a gallery that wants to represent my work.
Crescendo by Steven Bogart

BS: There has been several stories involving copyright infringement in the mainstream press as of late. What is your stance on copyright? Do you see strong copyright as a reflection of artist rights in general? Or do you feel that copyright restricts creativity? Do you have a stance on this issue?

SB: Artists have a right to control their images and the right to be credited.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art?

SB: No. The more I talk about my work, the less interested I am in what I have to say.
You can learn more about Steven Bogart by visiting his website-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
New York Art Exchange
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1 comment:

peter said...

Strong or weak copyright? What do those terms mean? Artists have the right to control their images and to attribution? Always?

Of course not always. Yoko Ono couldn't stop the makers of a movie on Intelligent Design from using 15 seconds of Imagine even though they didn't even seek consent. But JD Salinger could stop a biographer from using large portions of his unpublished letters in a biography without his consent.

Is the former weak copyright and the latter strong? Both results are simply copyright law. And if artists sometimes can stop people from using their works and sometimes can't, they don't have control over their works merely because they have control over their works.

You may wish it otherwise, and I'm not taking issue with your wishes. I'm just taking issue with stating wishes as truth and characterizing positions in misleading ways.

Is Orr's right to use Fairey's images to parody them an instance of strong or weak copyright? It sure seems to be evidence Fairey can't control the use of his images merely because they're his images.