Spotlight On .... Wendy Reiss
1. What part of the process of creating art do you like best?
The creative process can express emotional & temporal ideas through ones individual interpretations of both our inner world & the world around us. It is a visual language that is both personally relevant to myself as a human being & a language different to any other language. In this I find immense freedom of expression, giving me the ability to produce symbolic images, that hopefully communicate feelings of concern for the subject matter it endeavours to bring to the viewers attention. My mediums are clay, oils, pastel & mixed medium. I like the symbolist movement.
2. What is your working environment like?
My studio is situated at the lower level rear of the house had an unfortunate drainage problem, every time it rained, it flooded. However the overflow was diverted from the down hill torrent into the studio space by digging a trench at the side of the house for reasonable water flow, less invasive. We have also repainted and there is plenty of working bench space with plenty of sunlight through old fashioned lattice windows. I have a functional electric kiln & a raku kiln we constructed & lined with fibre. We have an upstairs studio space each for painting & drawing.
3. What kind of (formal & informal) art training have you had?
I have a Fine Art Degree, majoring in ceramics, from the then Victoria College, Prahan (now Deakin University) in 1987. I also have a Post Graduate Degree from Monash University, Caulfield, 1991.
4. How has your art training affected the kind of art you produce?
My art became predominantly ceramic medium. I learnt the methods of creating a hand built object i.e. extrusion coils, slab work, throwing a pot. How to make my own clay & make a glaze recipe. However, not working in functional ware, I chose to utilize a less technical & more intuitive approach to clay sculpture.
5. Name some important influences and inspirations in your art career.
The Post Modern movement (even ceramic sculpture was no longer `the poor relative' in the art world.) Jeff Mincham, Ola Cohn, Max Ernst, Odilon Redon, Bruce Armstrong, George Aslanis, Germain Greer and my mother, Betty Jungwirth have all been some influence & inspiration to my contemplation & gradual development of my artwork.
6. What has been the most difficult thing you have encountered in your work?
The actual execution of the process of the work ie. the hand building, the glazing, the kiln firing & the construction. As a working individual, I have great trouble keeping the flow of creation in tact, as it is inevitably interrupted by the needs of survival.
7. Have there been major turning points in your art career?
Two major commissions:- Exterior Kingston Art Centre (1994), ceramic sculptures & Longbeach Place Chelsea, concrete high relief mural (2004). It was of some help to win some awards for ceramic sculpture.
8. What has been the highlight of your art career?
My ceramic aeroplane being selected for Roar 2 Galleries, from the window spaces in Collins Street, 1992.
Resurrection of Superdog by Wendy Reiss - Ceramic, oxides, tin-plating, steel-rodding, wire, wood, 29 x 41 x 22 cm