The Hill Street Country Club is proud to present new works by Cheryl Sorg
Opening Reception | Saturday August 24
7 pm @ 530 S. Coast Hwy | Free Admission | All Ages Welcome
Q & A with artist, Cheryl Sorg
What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
So many things!
I listen to audiobooks when I’m working in the studio - fiction, nonfiction, you name it. I love to listen to books about physics and space lately - it’s a bit over my head, a lot of it, and so listening is easier than reading. I think a lot about connections between people, why groups of people hate other groups of people (WHY??) and so I love learning about our tiny place in this huge universe (multiverse?). I’ve also been reading a lot about brilliant creative women.... Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel, and books of the work of painter Hilma af Klint are completely inspiring and have given me a strong urge to explore painting as a medium (one day....). Figuring by Maria Popova makes me want to delve even more into science and poetry. It’s a brilliant book about intimidatingly brilliant people. Creativity: The Perfect Crime by Philippe Petit is another inspiring book and was key in pushing me towards beginning my ‘portals of hope’ street art project several years ago.
I also watch a lot of television (something I used to feel a bit guilty about, but I feel a lot less so since reading somewhere how much television the brilliant David Foster Wallace loved watching). It doesn’t always fuel my work per se, but gives much needed respite. That being said, there is so much that is visually lovely and I’m completely enthralled with the imagery in many of the shows I watch (The OA and The Handmaid’s Tale come readily to mind).
What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them? How do you navigate the art world?
I’m really lucky to have both time and space to work. REALLY lucky. There are still challenges, though. One of them is just those periods of time when I think what I do is pretty much shit, those times when I think what the hell am I even doing? Social media doesn’t help. I find it very inspiring on one hand - I follow a huge number of artists and writers and book publishers, and seeing images of their work delights me. But getting caught up in ‘likes’ and comparing myself to others in terms of the quality of work and career success can be discouraging and I have to remind myself over and over not to play that comparison game. Navigating the art world socially is actually one of my bigger challenges as well. I don’t put myself out there nearly as much as I could or should - going to openings, etc.. I have a million reasons for that - related to my mental health issues, mostly... depression, anxiety, fatigue... - but I’m working on it!
What mediums do you work with? How would you describe your subject matter?
Right now I work with - primarily - tape and dichroic film. Lots of color and lots of shine. I also photograph clouds and sky somewhat obsessively and those photographs find their way into my work in a number of ways. My subject matter on the surface focuses largely on forms from nature - those clouds I mentioned of course, tree rings, light, rainbows, all abstracted to varying degrees. Underneath however, are thoughts of despair and hope, connection and my place in the world (all our places in the world).
When people ask you what you “do”, how do you answer?
I answer that I make art. Describing what kind of art is always the tricky part.
Describe a childhood memory that has influenced your artwork
When I was a kid I was certain I was going to grow up to be a fashion designer. My dad would bring home huge stacks from work of that big printer paper from the 70’s / 80’s that was white on one side and had green stripes on the other and the perforated strips on both edges and I would fill those huge pieces of paper with dozens and dozens of drawings of shoes, outfits. Obsession and repetition has definitely been a theme in my work forever.
Has there been a shift or change in your life or work that has led to what you’re making now? Do you see your work as autobiographical at all?
The shift took place a few years ago. I was creating work from book pages for years, pieces in which I would take apart a book (Moby Dick, Metamorphoses, The Odyssey, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle....) line by line and assemble them into a huge drawing or installation. At some point I felt a need for COLOR. I created a drawing in much the same fashion / technique as the bookworks at some point with some silver tape I had on hand for masking slides (remember when art was shared through slides??) and loved working with it, then little by little began discovering sources for all manner of other types of tape, the endless colors they come in. Since then, I work almost exclusively with the tape as a ‘drawing’ medium. I see my work as somewhat anti-autobiographical in a way, as it is a vividly colorful and shiny antidote to all that is dark in my mind. Where I tend to go negative, I think my work reads as wildly positive and hopeful. It is a bit ‘wishful’ perhaps?
What is your personal message to your artwork and how does that connect to a communal and universal message?
I keep becoming more and more and more intensely aware of just how shit the world is - racism, misogyny, sex trafficking, poverty, corruption in power, mass incarceration, etc. etc. etc., all of it. Just shit. And somehow working with the vibrant color injects a bit of cheer (hope?) into all of it for me. It certainly doesn’t improve it, or necessarily generate any change at all, but it gives me pleasure, and as simplistic as this may sound, the hope is that it will do the same for someone else as well.
Do you intend your work to challenge the viewer?
I suppose the way in which I see it challenging the viewer is that it challenges them (and me) to feel happiness and hope in the face of all that is terrible, just really, really terrible in the world. I certainly find it challenging to do so and, in this particular moment, under this particular administration, I know I am not alone in feeling this way.
Is the creative impulse driven by a personal need to ease pain and/or satiate desire?
The creative impulse for me is driven by a personal need to create, period, absolutely. I have to do it. It also does in fact serve to ease pain for me also. I have bipolar II with intense bouts of depression and irritability (one might say bitchiness), as well as anxiety. My work is very time- and labor-intensive, and very repetitive and obsessive and so it becomes a meditation, a much, much needed zoning out that calms my mind.
What three things never fail to bring you pleasure?
Reading (in a cafe, preferably), making art, and walking in a big city (New York especially, and Paris!)
Whats your motto?
Hmmmm... I’m not sure I have one, but if I had to make one up on the spot, I’d probably say something like, “It’s all shit - forge ahead anyway.”