Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Interview: Lori Miles

[image, Things Seen In My Rearview Mirror, mixed media, 2008]

Be sure to check out Lori Miles opening this Friday.

The Arcades Project
New work by Lori Miles

Opening Reception Friday, July4th 6-9pm

The Erstwhile Gallery
1651 English Avenue
(Corner of State and English)
Indianapolis, IN

Work on view from July 4th-23rd
by appointment 217-377-9206

1- What inspires you?

I'm emotionally incapable of meditating and rarely remember my dreams, so most of my inspiration comes during my commute- the only truly quiet space I have that's not reserved for anything else but thinking about art.

2- Can you talk about your art practice?

I sort of have this belief that our brain works like a slot machine. All of the information we encounter or absorb goes in until similar experiences are paired up- and then "ding". The way similar experiences overlap in our minds- even when they come from vastly different periods of our life. I think that's where visual metaphors develop, that part of the subconscious that is constantly spinning our memories to look for equivalents.

3- Much of your work plays with appropriation and/or recontextualization, what are your thoughts and or interest in this aspect of your work?

Appropriation is the only interesting subject matter in Art today. Kiddin'. But I doubt there's been a more consistently relevant topic of consideration- from DuChamp to Levine to music sampling to intellectual property disputes over internet images- it just keeps evolving.

4- How important is craftsmanship in your work?

I know the theory that a great idea, poorly executed, won't ever be viewed. Craft is important. But being a great seamstress doesn't make you a fashion designer. I just don't think we're trained ponies- making Art means we're always at the bottom of the learning curve, dealing with new technical and conceptual issues with each new project. I'm a big fan of paying others or bartering labor whenever possible, especially in stages that fall under their expertise.

5- How has teaching impacted your art practice?

DePauw has afforded me a lot of opportunities right from the start- and we have eight galleries on campus, three dedicated to contemporary art. They've always struck me as surprisingly supportive of the arts. Some days I think teaching sucks all the creative life out of me- other days I realize how great it is to be around students just at the beginning of their realizations about Art. It's like a perpetual period of first discovery that professors vicariously absorb.

6- Where is your favorite place to view art in Indiana? Outside Indiana?

The Art Museum at IU Bloomington has the best collection of Dada artworks that no one ever knows about- you can see all these great pieces by those guys crammed in a corner, within your arm's reach. It's crazy. Outside Indiana? I have long standing love affairs with so many pieces, but I'd currently suggest everyone go to the 21C Museum in Louisville for some up-close and personal art experiences with some of our generation's soon-to-be greats.

7- Do you collect anything, if so, what, why, and what is your favorite piece
in the collection?

I started collecting UFO memorabilia and have a bad ebay addiction because of it. Shoes and UFO stuff.

8- What is your favorite work of contemporary art at the IMA?

I'm probably the only one who will admit it, but I always dig Donald Lipski's wall of little pieces. I don't even know the title but I like his eye for objects and manipulations. In fact, I don't even know if I have his name right. Can I just say Sandback?

9- Can you tell us about the ideas and concepts behind the works for your
upcoming show?

I'm trying to describe the spaces in between; the threshold moments in life where we are neither here nor there. Forms go through transitions, too, when they move from practical object to decorative element (wagon wheels lining driveways, water wells turned planter)- a transition most often signified by a diminished scale. I'm really trying to think about what happens when things move from one stage or place to another- if there is a tangible space in between that can be recorded- and if that space is as still and calm is I know it to be. Every time I moved, I always thought how sad it was to arrive- that really it was the trip that was the good part- when everything was all hope and possibility.

10- What advice would you give to young artists that you wish you understood
earlier in your career?

Everything you learn is just a tool for your toolbox. Don't fall in love with processes or materials- they're just a means to an end.

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