Interview with artist Loren Myhre
Kimberly Myhre: What is your working process?
Loren Myhre: It’s funny; I don’t think I really have a working process. Art and life is not based around a governed routine at this stage in my life. I make art when I am afforded the time and work around a chopped up time schedule. Usually, I get to paint at home in one hour to two-hour bursts. Those few hours are really focused and intense moments for me. Working on sculptures in the studio is often relegated for late nights when everything is quiet and life seems to cease. I have found a kind of fairness in juggling everything.
KM: What are the differences between working on a painting and working on a sculpture for you?
LM: The element of time is the greatest difference between the act of painting and the act of sculpture. Painting for me is a lot more immediate and instantaneously gratifying. I can create something out of paint and instantly change my mind and destroy it and rebuild it again in a matter of minutes. Working in three dimensions and largely with industrial material you do not have that luxury. The sculptures evolve through more calculated steps. The creation and destruction of a piece of art has been on my mind lately. I believe destruction is part of the creative act. It may be more recognized in painting than in sculpture but it exists equally in my work.
KM: Who are some of the artists that have influenced you?
LM: The artists that have had the greatest impact on me have been those that I have had the privilege of sharing a relationship with. I worked closely with the sculptor Tom Butter in graduate school. He greatly molded my mind around how to think about sculpture. He showed me what sculpture could be and how it should function with time and space. Tom guided my thoughts about the use of materials to evoke a feeling, relay a mood or shape a state of being. I was also transitioning from being largely a painter to the sculpture end of doing things. Tom was influential in getting my ideas off the wall and to have sculpture inhabit a room and fill a space with its presence. I have always maintained my affinity for painting and another great mind I worked with in school was the painter Louise Fishman. If you ever need your faith restored in the power and necessity of painting, Louise is the one to talk to. Even though I was gravitating towards sculpture, Louise was keeping my one foot in painting. While a lot of people were making things that paraded as painting with stuff other than paint, Louise was pointing to what could still be done with a loaded brush and that was still exciting to me. Tom has become a dear friend and I still keep in touch with Louise as well.
KM: What works of art do you find yourself revisiting as sources for inspiration?
LM: I have been continually drawn to a photograph by Masahisa Fukase. It is titled “Dream Island, Tokyo” (from the series Solitude of Ravens). The photo is filled with mystery and is expressionistic in its scope. It is simultaneously beautiful and saturated with tragedy. Whenever I visit the Met I enjoy revisiting the painting “Woman with a Parrot” by Gustave Courbet. It’s light color and composition is mesmerizing. What is most fascinating to me about the work is what is faked and imagined. The bird in flight upon the woman’s finger, the heavy floral drape imparting a densely vegetative landscape – all of that stuff is made up out of his head. The pale luminous woman feels transplanted into this tent like paradise.
Masahisa Fukase, “Dream Island, Tokyo (from the series Solitude of Ravens), 1980, gelatin silver print, 29 x 43cm
More on the Artist:
Born in Estherville Iowa and raised in Florida, Myhre’s work reflects the rural landscape of his youth. He was a champion of the youth organization 4H raising sheep and cattle from a young age. This instilled in him an industrious work ethic and enthusiasm for all things found in nature. Though he juggles the role of husband, father and provider he manages to maintain a prolific art practice.
In Florida, during his undergraduate studies, his work was purely abstract pastoral landscapes. The transition to New York City for graduate school presented a new environment and he felt compelled to reinvent his working process. This wasn’t a gentle transition however, and what at first was sheer anxiety gave way to a rhythm of brave experimentation. His peers and instructors were an invaluable community to him during this time. Confined by the constraints of city life, in a walkup railroad apartment with a graduate student’s budget, he quickly grew fond of fabricating small sculptural pieces comprised of found materials. These early experiments laid the foundation for his process of balancing fabricated and found objects.
For the past 8 years Myhre has been living and making his art in Florida. He has served as an adjunct professor teaching courses in sculpture and metal sculpture at Flagler College. His work has continued to evolve hinting at an organic nature and a juxtaposition of found with fabricated materials.
-Kimberly Myhre, 2016