In a sea of images, Derek Gores is making unique pictures that stand completely on their own. Their blend of abstraction with such interestingly familiar portraits and stills create a dichotomy that really works. Derek took a minute to sit down with us to talk about his process while getting ready for Miami this year. If you are out here be sure and stop by to check out the amazing details in his work!
Art Nouveau: You are in Florida right? Do your surroundings play much of a roll in the images you create?
Derek Gores: I’m sure somehow… I’m in the unique spot on the planet where humans reached out to the moon and could also go to the beach. There’s a combo of problem solving and patient daydreaming around all the time that gives me new fuel.
AN: I have heard you say like to see how far you can deconstruct your subject. Can you talk about your process some? Do you sketch your work out or work spontaneously?
DG: I do some wet drawing work that starts from abstraction and sometimes becomes an object, often figurative or spacial. However In the collage work I work it backwards, from a photo reference in a space I breathed, and then I do start with a simple sketch with a sharpie marker usually and then layer in the abstraction of the pieces of paper. I am after the essence of a real figure, often hinting at elapsed time perhaps, but I build the figure out of opposites. I like using linear, sharp, man-made elements you wouldn’t think of as art, like a schematic or a map for example, so that the life and the space you find is that much more surprising when it hits.
AN: Have you always worked loosely or is this a theme in your work?
DG: I was super tight as an 18 year old, but once I saw the end of that particular path I’ve loved anything that can distract or get in the way of that kind of accuracy. Water, using two hands, all sorts of outside influences, collaborations with the subjects, etc.
AN: It seems like this push towards abstraction is what allows your viewers to insert there own interpretation?
DG: True, I love ambiguous spaces and all kids of references in the recycled elements, so that viewers can use their own memories as they interact. The spacial play I would say comes especially from Franz Kline’s abstractions, and the Klimt/Schiele play with flattening spaces as a way to make their figures pulse out at you.
AN: What have you been pursuing in your most recent work?
DG: Two things especially. Lately I’ve been playing with transparency in the pieces, where shadows see through to another space. Also, this year I have played with a more involved narrative, even if it isn’t clear what’s happening. I’d say my subject has become the study of ‘fierceness’- the admiration of a strong individual woman whose beauty is the result of her choices and actions and lifestyle. The first several I’d say showed a weight in her eyes, and my most recent show the fun of living.
AN: I know you aren’t crazy about the word ‘collage’, what else have you been calling it lately?
DG: Cleverness, Advanced Scrapbooking, and it gets a little cooler with some European influence, see look: ‘cøllage’
AN: I know you have been really busy lately, what shows or projects do you have coming up?
DG: Select Fair at Art Basel Miami! Huge! and next big awesomeness is a show in the Spring at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles. And another in Barcelona. Details on the way…
AN: That will be awesome, are there any artists or galleries you are looking forward to seeing at Art Basel?
DG: I must locate Hush. My other favorites: Christopher Maslow, David Burton, Jeff Filipski. Check ‘m out!
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas