VISUAL VOICES: AN INTERVIEW WITH Ann Bubis

What are the core and fundamental themes and concepts of your art?

  

Over 25 years ago, my six-year-old son went for a paddle in the Mediterranean Sea and became seriously ill. He was diagnosed with a very rare form of encephalitis. Although he is fully recovered I realised that the pollutants in the waters were seriously dangerous not only then but for our future generations

Thus, began my journey as an artist to express my anxiety about pollution in our fragile world. I explore the relationship of human beings to their environment. Yet I always had a deep-seated passion for plant life, having had a brief period in my childhood where we lived in Devon and I was given the freedom to roam at will, the beautiful countryside. I feel the sensuous and poetic beauty of nature; flowers, plants and all of their composite parts.

I am also intrigued by the concept of the ‘throwaway society’ the spirits of objects that are lost yet still intertwined with memories. Objects of desire, collectables from one’s lifetime create wonderful memorabilia. Not appreciated as much now, as a ‘we must have the latest’ notion is thrown at us hourly through technology used today. There is an importance of our ancestral history that slowly slips away through generations. Our past, after all, is as important as our future and it often leads the way.

How closely do these ideas relate to your creative process and the actual act of creating the art itself?

  

With my earlier paintings I began with observational studies, simple compositions in oil painted straight on to the canvas alluding to the beauty of the flowers and plants. I visited Kew Gardens and researched in detail. With curiosity, imagination and a sense of wonder, I explored and thus created more.

With my abstract paintings, I wish to take the viewer on a journey from micro to macro, each vantage point providing a new perspective. At one glance you can follow a single line as it turns and twists like the banks of a river but that one line soon flows contiguously with others around it. They begin to flow together, banking and swooping in tandem; they contract and expand and as your eye moves from left right, scanning the canvas and become animated in an undulating and perpetual motion. As the viewer observes the paintings from a distance they begin to see their kinetic effect; with so much movement the lines begin to coalesce and pool into contours that change on each viewing. 

In parallel to my paintings I create ‘Fine Craft’ framed mosaics, furniture and sculptures.

Looking at my British heritage, I find that I am fascinated by my culture which is an amalgamation of many that intertwine creating a richness that should be celebrated. 

I scour antique shops, antique fairs and auction houses to re-invigorate old memories, to build conversation pieces that give the past a place to thrive in the form of sculptural mosaics and found object-topped tables for use indoors. I have a huge collection of ornaments, bejewelled charms, bone china, objet d’art, cameos, bric-a brac, curios and many old clocks and their mechanisms. With all this I find a frame that then inspires my work. I choose from my collection, taking into account similarities in colour and shading and then I add other colours. I look at the decorative effects to create variety and richness and choose a motif as a compositional point. Some are intricate and elaborate compositions while others are very picturesque. Among all of this, I hope the viewer will also find humour, positivity, individuality and a bit of my eccentricity.

My sculptures, which I call my ‘Juxtaposes’, show my sense of humour; they acknowledge the past by revitalising these beautiful man-made objects that have been abandoned or given away.

Which artists, designers, creators (past or present) are you inspired and influenced by?

My ‘Rhythmscapes’ series have been an important direction I have painted recently. Plant life evolves at its own rhythm, a much slower one than the frantic chaos that mankind is heading towards. I wish to hypnotise the viewers so they feel like they are looking at the rhythms and patterns of everything around them. The Japanese term ‘Kami’ means "the energy generating a thing”. Kami exists in nature, rivers, places and people. ‘Kami and people exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity. Another piece that started a new major direction in my work is ‘Stories Told in Gold’. A huge glorious, old, elaborate golden frame that used to encase a mirror now has a composition of decorative, once functional and aesthetic plates, figurines and more. Viewing the work from afar in order to read the whole you can then move up close to study the detail. There is much to see and I delight in observing people react with each other as they tell stories of their own past and then starts an amazing conversation that in itself becomes a memory.

An artist of powerful creative voice and message, what do you wish to communicate to your audience? 


 We need to be a more caring. We are moving too fast without thinking of the outcome, much to the detriment of our surroundings and our society. With urban surroundings taking over green spaces, children of today are losing the magical appeal of observing nature. I am passionate for all that is beautiful within our natural world. Yet today, a quarter of all plant species are faced with the threat of extinction. With my paintings, I wish to encourage my audience to be aware of the sensuous beauty of nature and simply care more for the environment we live in today.

With my ‘Fine Craft’ mosaic pieces, I wish to charm and enchant on lookers to the beauty of their own past and the past of others, to having a better understanding of their own identity. These works are conversational pieces, invariably, and I am delighted by people who, while viewing my work, tell each other stories of their past recalling their own family’s collections and memories.

Creatively, professionally and in all aspects of being an artist, what are your goals for your upcoming works and art?

Every day I walk over the narrow green footbridge to the private Eel Pie island on the river Thames to my studio. There is calm on this magical island, a tight-knit community of land people and water people who thrive together in a peaceful environment full of positive energy. This is the perfect space for me to create. Living on the outskirts of London I wish to visit many exhibitions in Museums and galleries to inspire me in my quest to create further. I will continue researching in Kew Gardens and The Wellcome Trust to enhance my work and gain a better understanding. My wish is to inspire others to think and be aware.

In our previous questions you touched on what is integral to your work as an artist- can you elaborate further on how has your practice change over time in relation to this?



With my paintings I originally wanted to capture the essence of the beauty of plant life through observational studies., Now with the abstract work there is an inimitable and delicate balance within them, a harmonic unanimity and organic flow. Within the image I wish to capture an element of cohesion and balance. It is in the melee of each element trying to stay afloat where balance is found. With my ‘Fine Craft’ mosaic framed work, I originally worked in small frames, with one or two plates. Yet I enjoyed the 3D aspect and started with larger work where I could incorporate a variety of ornaments and figurines with the final outcome intricate and elaborate compositions of relief work.



Learning about your approach, and use of found material, how you utilize a found objects, materials and items, your ideology and energy is more align to film making or installation that 2D and 3D, are you committed to one area of can you see your work transforming to a whole other medium? What is your dream project?

I may develop my work further into a different format; an installation using all senses’ a soundscape with touch, smell and moving images of natural form.  Having worked in film and animation it would be intriguing to have the viewer interact with art, a form of self-discovery within their environment.

What is your artistic outlook on life?

 I have always been an observer of life, observed in detail, researched in detail, feel my emotions respond to this knowledge that has accumulated over time and then expressed visually.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given (that relates to your art)?

The best piece of advice I have been given is to create what inspires you and ignore visual trends and market demands. This has worked for me as I have produced much more exciting work as I do not feel the anxieties and pressure to please others.

Interested? Want to see more? See much more!