Monday, February 3, 2014

TAG Interviews Alain Rogier

Alain Rogier, who is currently exhibiting his work at TAG, will be giving a talk “The Art of a Child of Survivors of Auschwitz” at LEO BAECK TEMPLE, 1300 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, 90049 Saturday, February 8, 1:45pm.

We asked him a few questions.

What are some of the themes you plan to discuss in your upcoming talk?
The issues for the second generation are complex in that they not only have to address the actual pain and suffering sustained by our parents, but how they dealt with those issues, how they transferred their lessons unto us, the psychological scars that this created that had to be dealt with. These are just some of the issues. Then, there are the issues of recognizing that the world has moved on, that we face children from Nazis that had absolutely nothing to do with the Holocaust and the questions of how to deal with them. On top of this, there are all of the historical facts that we have become privy to after the war that bring into question a lot of our perceptions of governments, society and political leaders. The theological questions regarding God and Heaven also come into play. These are some of the questions that I attempt to address in the art re the Holocaust.

Alain Rogier, Who Knows About Tomorrow?, Acrylic on canvas, 55 x 45 in
Where did you grow up? Do you feel that your early environment had an influence on your artistic development?
I was born in Paris, France shortly after the war. My parents were Holocaust survivors. Paris at the time was still recovering from the war and had yet to resurrect itself from the mental and physical hardships of the war. It was gritty. For work reasons, my parents moved to Glendale, Calif. after we emigrated to the U.S.. I was totally isolated as I did not speak any English and still wore clothes for French schools. My family stood out as sore thumbs in that environment. This experience reflects itself in my perspective of life, sensitivity to the role of the outsider, to the complexity and visceral hardships of life. The attempt to find serenity in the world we live in is one of the principal themes in my work as is the conflict between the forces of light and dark.

When did you first realize you were an artist (or have the courage to identify yourself as an artist)?
This is twofold struggle: the commercial and the internal identification. Confidence in my work has really not been lacking for years, but realizing that the work keeps evolving and the art stronger makes me question some of the assumptions that I made years ago about being an artist. I am quite comfortable on both fronts today to identify myself as an "artist." For me though, it means a continuing internal dialogue and challenge. I realize that you cannot allow the commercial side define you.

What are the key themes that run through your work?
The human condition, the struggle between the forces of light and darkness, the search for serenity/peace in a complex often cruel world. The need to engage and have people engaged in the dialogue is also very critical to me.

Alain Rogier, The Meeting, Acrylic on canvas, 55 x 66 in
What excites you about the medium/genre that you work in?
The endless permutations, challenges in creating images that both have something to say and that elicit a response/dialogue.

How do you decide on your color palette?
The palette is continually in flux. Experimenting, stretching my comfort zones adds to the dialogue and personal conversation. At the end of the day, however, the palette needs to remain strong and evoke emotions as well as mental engagement for me to enjoy it.

How do you know when a work is finished?
Each piece stands on its own. I have to get to a point where I think that I cannot add anything further to it nor edit anything as superfluous.

How do you like people to view your work—from across the room, or close up?
Both. Hopefully, the work will grab you from a distance and then one will see the depth and beauty of the paint and brushstrokes.

What would you like your viewers to take away from their encounter with your artwork?
That they are had a dialogue with the art and that it has caused them to think or feel something that they hadn't initially before encountering it.

What is the biggest challenge that you face as an artist?
Getting the work out there to be viewed.

Tell us about your studio -- where do you create?
We converted the garage into my studio. It works very well. Skylights and fresh air abound.

May we have a peek?
People are invited to contact me for a visit.

Alain Rogier, Electric Moment, Acrylic on canvas, 55 x 48 in
In addition to the talk on February 8, Alain will give an Artist's Talk at TAG moderated by museum curator Sara L. Cannon on Saturday February 15, 3pm.

Alain is also hosting a “Brushes Meet Beats” event at TAG with live jazz and wine tasting on Saturday February 22, 7:30-9:00pm.

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