Two exceptional female painters, Eunjung Seo and Reisha Perlmutter recently joined forces and produced an amazing show Silent Waters at Benjamin Eck Gallery in Munich. Both authors focused on creating a bridge between their images and public, explore the energy of water, stillness, and light. The stories expressed in Eunjung Seo interview and Reisha Perlmutter interview, reflect the diversity of each author, showing how life and its various states, like water never stand still.
Using water as a starting point, Eunjung Seo and Reisha Perlmutter create images which inspire the attention of the viewer and encourage the public to enter the moment of stillness and silence. Encouraging the viewer to dwell in a meditative moment of the piece, Perlmutter attempts to connect the viewer to memories only to further enhance the exploration of time. Her paintings of beautiful female figures bathed in water, not only explore the beauty of the body and its form but more importantly express how moments of silence are crucial in life. Similarly, the focus on the surface of the water or on the play of light in abandoned places in Seo’s paintings use and reflect the quite shifts and movements in nature.
Wanting to find out more about their projects and what truly lies beneath the surface of their images, Widewalls asked for the two interviews and was delighted that each artist found the time to talk about the energy of their works, what issues they concern their works with, and how forces, which to many go by unnoticed are fundamental for life.
Widewalls: How do you define the energy of silence and of stillness?
Eunjung Seo: Although my paintings seem still and quite they’re breathing and have energy. Silent water always moves like leaves in a forest.
WW: In your work, predominant are places which are soaked in light, or which are defined by the pure play of light. Why is this?
ES: Without light, a painting is just a play of different colors. In the history of art, light has always been an effect with which you can revive a painting. Light can create a three- dimensional space.
WW: Could you please tell us, what does the water mean to you and why do you understand its power, which you have previously defined, as the power of fire?
ES: Actually, water is not my theme, it’s just a projection screen of my ideas about space and time. Water creates the freedom to realize my ideas in diverse ways because of its liveliness.
WW: Why have you decided to create your amazing images with the use of a traditional medium, such as oil painting on canvas?
ES: If you use oil or acryl doesn’t really matter but when I use water as my projection screen oil colors are more suitable as of the consistency and the long processing time it’s more comforting to the character of water.
WW: Abstracting the surface of the water, what new space do you create in your paintings?
ES: The space is not confined to the canvas. The play of the broken mirroring of the waves should fill the space between painting and viewer.
WW: Can you tell us a little bit about the joined show Silent Waters at Benjamin Eck Gallery? What is, in your opinion, the undercurrent that connects your work to the work of Reisha Perlmutter?
ES: I’m really happy to exhibit at Benjamin Eck´s gallery. It’s a great designed and nice gallery in the heart of Munich with a committed gallerist. Very interesting is that Reisha and I are using the same projection screen but we have different topics in our focus. But what we have in common is the deep in our paintings which widen the room in the gallery.
WW: What does the future hold for your art production?
ES: Paintings are like music or literature, means of expression of the artist for ideas. But the canvas limits the space for those ideas. My hope as an artist is that my paintings enter into a dialogue with the viewer and that my ideas can find more space than just on the canvas.
WW: What role do childhood memories and the states of freedom play in your work?
Reisha Perlmutter: The series AQUA stems from memories of sensations from my childhood. The series had a lot to do with a self-discovery relating re-awakening sensations relating to childhood fascinations. As a child, there is an awe associated with what seem like simplistic phenomenon such as with light and water. Children especially have a keener sense of freedom to experience because they have not been bound by expectations of restrictions learned in life through society, family etcetera.
Memories of my childhood remind me of the freedom to experience. For my imagery in AQUA, these memories relate to the way the water feels against the skin, the tension as one moves through it, and the feeling of floating. There is a sense of boundlessness associated with water. The exploration of this feeling is critical to AQUA.
WW: What state of mind do you attempt to capture with the use of your beautiful women bathed in water?
RP: I do not try to illustrate a specific state of mind with my paintings, as I believe it is critically important for all viewers to experience the work in their own way. I do however choose to paint women in specific states of neutrality, which many may interpret at peaceful.
WW: What meaning and energy does water hold for you?
RP: Water is an incredibly powerful element. Its symbolism in my work is both literal and poetic. AQUA in a most basic way is about connectedness. Water is the perfect vehicle in which I am able to illustrate connectedness of a physical level, as well as psychological.
Water is the essence of existence. We are born from it, and we are comprised primarily of it. Human relationship to water is innate and bound to its very existence. For this reason, its presence in my series allows for a primal connection to the imagery. As I mentioned before, I am also concerned with the physical quality of water and how it feels against the body. Water in this way becomes a way to instate a very visceral connection to the piece.
WW: Can you please tell us a little bit about your project AQUA – What is it about?
RP: AQUA is about connecting to awareness. It’s about the recognition of the feeling of the organic world (light, water, breath), and how that influences a sense of being.
WW: When did your preoccupation with light and its presence begin? Are there any major influences, which you could say, prompted you to pay attention to the fleeting moments and of states of silence?
RP: My fascination with light was present from my earliest memories. I can recall at the age of three, sitting on the wet wood patio floor, and watching as the light moved across the sky and created different shadow patterns from the leaves.
I think growing up very much surrounded by the natural word, deeply influenced my attention to “fleeting moments of silence”. Everything by its nature is a fleeting moment, whether silent or not. The sensation when one first dives into a cold lake is fleeting (and certainly not silent), but it is a moment that brings awareness to the whole body. It brings a reminder of life energy,
WW: Can you tell us a little bit about the joined show Silent Waters at Benjamin Eck Gallery? What is in your opinion the undercurrent that connects your work to the work of Eunjung Seo?
RP: I was thrilled to show with Eunjung Seo because our work complimented each other very well. On as aesthetic level, our work is very different, especially in our technical approach. I think this was important for our works to stand apart.
However, our work both evokes a sense of time, space, and sensation. I see her work as evoking a sense of boundlessness or infinity. It allows the viewer to enter into the piece and feel the presence of water and light without overtly directing them as to the “feeling” they are supposed to receive. In many ways, I see my work as being similar. I think the open quality of the imagery equally allows for one to enter into a state of feeling, without being specifically directed as to what to feel.
Finally, there is an undercurrent of tranquility in both of our work, which was vital to the show.
WW: What does the future hold for your art production?
RP: I am beginning a new project this month that I am very thrilled about. In many ways, it is similar to AQUA, as it will retain the theme of water and women. However, I will be investigating a much more specific theme, one that I am very thrilled to get started on.
All images used for illustrative purposes only, courtesy of Benjamin Eck Gallery. Featured image in slider: Reisha Perlmutter - Artwork, detail;Eunjung Seo, Benjamin Eck and Reisha Perlmutter; Eunjung Seo - Untitled; Installation view Silent Water at Benjamin Eck Gallery; Installation view Silent Water at Benjamin Eck Gallery; Reisha Perlmutter - Splay