courtesy of Berkley Kirsche, @berkleyzzz
James Fuentes. NY, USA. March 2022
FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINA MARIE LUEMEN
WOULD YOU DESCRIBE JACKSON POLLOCK OR MARK ROTHKO GENERALLY AS GUIDING FIGURES IN YOUR PRACTICE?
Yes and no. A thing that might be significant about my works is that they are not the large confident paintings associated with Abstract Expressionism or a lot of the more contemporary naïve painting, where it is all about confidence. With my paintings, it’s about the humility of making it. I make this shape, and then over and over again I have to toil with it, rubbing the paint off, taking it off, until I feel like I have arrived at something. The concentration of this process creates the kind of energy within the shape I’ve made. Eventually it feels like a living thing. And that is usually what I am looking for, but the humility within that is a more human thing: We tend to second-guess ourselves, we overthink, regret, try to make up for things. With my paintings, I am flipping that vein of confidence people claim to have all the time. I think people don’t make unconfident paintings.
I WOULD SAY THAT IN A WAY, A PAINTING CAN NEVER BE COMPLETELY UNCONFIDENT. BECAUSE THERE IS ALWAYS THE MOMENT WHEN YOU, AS A PAINTER, DECIDE THAT IT IS FINISHED WHICH IS A DIRECT AFFIRMATION.
I think my paintings are disguised in that they tend to vibrate this fear and strength. And this I interesting because the whole time while making it I am fussying around and all the sudden it will surprise you. And then I do feel confident about it.
YOUR WORKS HAS BEENN SHIFTING BETWEEN ABSTRACTION, LARGE AREAS OF PAINT, AND MORE OR LESS DOMINANT DETAILED FIGURATION. WHERE DO YOU POSITION YOUR CURRENT PAINTINGS BETWEEN THE TWO, WHAT ARE YOUR DRIVING FORCES AT THE MOMENT?
I don’t like looking back to much, I can easily drop something I found interesting before. I’m trying to push what I am making right now. Some paintings are pushed more towards abstraction; but I push into different directions, to see what comes out. I can’t tell where the next paintings are going, I’m resetting at the moment.
IN 2018, YOU MADE A SERIES OF PAINTINGS WITH LARGE COLOURED READ AND VERY TINY ELEMENTS, SUCH AS CIRCLES OR AIRPLANES. THE PAINTINGS TO ME SEEM A KIND OF EXPLORATION. IS THAT TRUE, AND IF SO, WHAT WERE YOU EXPLORING?
Back then I was interested in the craft of painting, the different phases it takes to create. I had a teacher, Ridley Howard, who made very clean paintings. I wanted to work like him and was much influenced by his approach.