For many years now, the paintings by Isca Greenfield-Sanders (* 1978 in New York) have been concerned with anonymous snapshots of American leisure culture from the last century. Expansive landscapes, bright blue skies, and figures in light-hearted activity between the two characterize the artist’s oil paintings and watercolor works. They convey freedom and indulge in nostalgia, reminding us of our holidays or perhaps of dream worlds. In their apparently carefree transfiguration, they radiate calm. But perhaps they also arouse distrust precisely because of this peaceful idyll. Reduced and pastel-colored pictorial worlds reveal surreal, barely tangible settings, which trigger numerous associations, nonetheless.
In fact, at the beginning of each new series the artist takes recourse to a collection of hundreds of slides dating from the 1950s and 60s, which she acquires via eBay, among other sources. Her prime interest in this context is not only in the medium of photography but also in an engagement with memory. The focus on the motif of landscape – by contrast to urban surroundings – offers fewer clues to the date, and in this way the subjects become more timeless and universal. A complicated process in several stages follows, whereby a photo is first selected and scanned; detail views are then taken from it and processed digitally; figures are moved or landscape elements from different photos are added before everything is transposed back into the analogue sphere as half-tone ghost images and painted over using watercolors and colored pencils. The image produced in this way is broken down into a grid pattern, printed out on sheets of rice paper measuring approx. 18 x 18 cm, and finally fixed onto the canvas. Only now, the oil painting process begins: the translation of a photographically captured fragment of memory, whose unclarified situational reference – and a multilayered debate with this many years later – lay a veil over reality, causing the images to seem, as it were, more accessible and paradoxically more intimate. Thus a meticulously crafted insight into an apparently familiar, personal memory emerges from the memory of an unknown individual. Especially with regard to the past years, which have been shaped by fast-moving technology, political and social change, and an increasingly all-encompassing (immaterial) digital parallel world, Greenfield-Sanders’ images develop a relevance reflecting the social phenomenon of returning to the analogue and, hand in hand with this, to “the old days”, but they realize this in a fusion of digital and classic-manual working techniques. “Today and Everyday”shows new works from the continuing artistic process in which Isca Greenfield-Sanders investigates – in a painterly sense – the phenomenon of memory from documentary as well as cognitive standpoints, and under the influence of time.
About the artist
Isca Greenfield-Sanders’ works blur the boundaries between media art, photography, drawing, watercolour and oil painting. The artistic process bases on a transformation of vintage photographs by using various drawing and painting techniques. That way she creates atmospheric images of beach and bathing sceneries, ball games and other everyday subjects. On the surface, her works transmit an innocent easiness. Nevertheless, they subtly convey deeper feelings of nostalgia, lostness and loneliness. Many images represent an idyllic America of the 50s and 60s even so the artist was born in New York City in 1978.