Studio Visit: Christina Renfer Vogel

Christina is an artist and educator living and working in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Her work can be seen in PLEAT's December 2016 exhibition as well as christinarenfervogel.com. 

Please describe your work. 
My work is rooted in close looking and an interest in the unremarkable. The paintings shown at Pleat are from a body of work depicting isolated figures or groupings suspended in fields of color. There is a level of ambiguity without the specificity of place, and it draws attention to the way the figures hold their bodies and to the spaces in between. I aim for directness with these paintings, but I hope to suggest something more just under the surface, a simmering tension that hints at the yearning, discomfort, or uncertainty that I observe in our daily encounters. While some have mentioned loneliness in relationship to this work, I see solitude and disconnection from my perspective standing on the outside looking in.
 
What internal and external factors motivate your formal and conceptual choices? 
My experiences in the world motivate me and inform my work, but mostly I try to pay attention. As a perceptual painter I have an interest in deceleration. I think about human interaction, narrative and the potential for narrative, and am lured by the quotidian. Of course I also try to look at a lot of artwork, read, listen to music and podcasts, talk with friends and artists—it all seeps in and gets me exited to get into the studio.
 
Who are your artistic influences and what have you learned from them? 
One of my early influences was my teacher Susan Moore. She challenged and encouraged my work as I was starting out, gave me confidence to work figuratively, and taught me a hell of a lot about constructing a painting. I look at a lot of different work, but lately I have found myself looking at Vuillard, Matisse, Fairfield Porter, Alice Neel, Lois Dodd, and Amy Sillman. I have looked to these artists for years, but as my work has evolved, my relationship with their work has changed. Presently I think it is because of a kind of confidence and ease with the work of these painters that I am so attracted to and am always chasing after in my own work.