“What We See,” an Interview with Beverly Logan

Opening Reception February 20th, 2020 6pm-9pm

At ICP-BARD MFA Studios 24-20 Jackson Avenue Long Island City 3rd Floor

Megan Mack: Tell us a little about yourself… 

Beverly Logan: I’m originally from Youngstown Ohio. I came to NY at the age of 18 to attend Columbia University. My first career was in publishing and after retiring I decided to apply to an MFA program. 

I was very comfortable with photography as I’ve always taken photo classes as a hobby.

MM: What work did you submit to the MFA programs with?

BL: I submitted a project on consumerism that I collaborated with Chris Giglio on. It pertained to documenting expensive items of clothing and objects sold, i.e.  $3,000 shoes. I made thousands of images about this subject.

MM: How did you come into the love of collaging?

BL: I’ve always photographed my travels and life, I have a lifetime of photographs and that makes for an extensive archive. Upon entering ICP I found myself more interested in making work involving my already made images, than making new work. Gerhard Richter said that boxes of stored images felt unfinished—to piece that idea together, for me, collage was the best way to do that. Overall I was finished with walking around the streets with a camera.

MM: So you use mainly personal photos in your collages?

BL: All images are personal except for two by William Eggleston and Martin Parr. Just for fun. Otherwise all the photos are taken by me.

MM: What is your process like? Do you have an idea and then source the images or do you see an image and think oh that’s perfect for this one piece?

BL: The project is called “What We See” – which takes a look back at my life and see where things connect. My husband has dementia and a symptom is hallucinations, so  it’s curious to me— are hallucinations different than memory or similar?

Memory vs Hallucinations. However when I make collages I try to make them as subconscious as possible— if I try to make a story it becomes preachy and trite. I don’t have a goal in mind, no politics or agenda. Nothing sequential. 

I love landscapes- I’ve traveled to 50 countries. Generally I start with a landscape and print it large, then I cut pieces out— Maybe a car, maybe a back, maybe a tree, any object. I sit on the bed and play with the cut-outs. I lined the studio with metallic boards so I can move it around. Like a puzzle. Work it until the pieces fit together or they don’t. For me everything is about feeling- art and feelings are so closely related. Collaging was healing and gave me something to relax with, it reminded me of cutting out paper dolls, meditative, comforting, like being a child again. It all came about accidentally. Initially I didn’t want to do a show about my husband but it is a form of connecting to him. I know his hallucinations, memories, and brain function in a way we don’t understand. 

Your work is playful but also has a serious side—How do you navigate balance in your work?

Playfulness comes from the idea that life can be very difficult, you gotta find some way to make light of it or humorous- that isn’t degrading. Pity leads to the worst kind of feeling and can be horribly detrimental. Caregiving is a difficult position and I’m lucky to have this outlet. 

These series of works seem to have a deep connection to NY. Can you talk about your connection to NY? 

I have a connection to NY, but the work is not NY centric. The show is a mix of places and landscapes from all over the world. Triptychs and quadruples working in terms of layering. I connect to the process— what we see is the backdrop or set/stage and then work on top of it. Everyone is bringing their own narrative to each piece. Eventually I would want to have people make their own. Using magnets to move the collage pieces around – so I can see how each participant’s mind works. 

What themes do you see in your work?

Mainly the idea of hallucinations and memory but even without my husband’s dementia I would still be doing this- looking back at my life and seeing what makes sense- I alway want to be combining pictures. A picture of my dog with a landscape of Japan is still fascinating to me. I just have to remind myself to stay messy and sloppy… don’t think, every time I over think it becomes trite. Cut out $3000 shoes put it on a landscape that’s not pedagogical. My story, my history, my memories and see how they go together. I guess I could say I use memory to create a hallucination. It’s fascinating, trippy, and so much fun. I have to have a sense of humor and laughing is very important— they make me laugh! 

On view by appointment: February 21st-23rd

Contact: beverlylogan@me.com

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