Wall Fiction interviews visual artist Lori Dell September 13 2015
Lori Dell, a Toronto, Canada based artist, explores and reinterprets traditional imagery of architecture and landscape. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) and recipient of numerous awards, Dell concept works are large, bold, meditative and emotionally charged. Detailed and mysterious, her mixing of history and mindfulness leaves viewers transported through place and time.
Wall Fiction presents her show Gates and Portals and talks with the artist.
WF: Lori, we are so pleased to share our official launch and inaugural online show with you and your work in Gates and Portals.
LD: I would like to thank Wall Fiction for putting up my show. I’m happy to be the first artist to show for a gallery that I have no doubt will become a major creative force in the art marketplace.
WF: Thank you for that. We believe that Wall Fiction has a unique place in the art market by promoting original art, sharing provenance of older desirable works and educating new collectors. But we’re here about you. You’ve shown your work extensively and you have been a professional artist for more than 25 years. When did you know that you would become a full-time professional artist?
LD: I was always very visual and musical but decided to focus on visual arts when I was 14. If I wasn’t an artist, I’ve imagined myself on the trapeze in the circus, or more recently, involved in archaeology or running a horse sanctuary.
WF: A trapeze artist and traveling in the circus and archaeology! That must be where all the mystery and discovery of exotic places and architecture I see in Gates and Portals comes from – a true adventure in other places with other cultures.
LD: You can live many lives as a painter through the creative process and to a large extent, satisfy that sense of adventure. There are no barriers of time and space with imagination and expression.
WF: In this show you take us on a journey back through history and into another time. Yet many of the architectural sites still exist. From where did your vision to create this body of work evolve?
LD: My ideas and inspirations come from a multitude of sources but all originally stem from a spark – a whisper of a feeling that keeps recurring and gaining momentum and energy over time. Be it from dreams or visions, a profound experience, a potent thought or the simple joy of color, light and nature, ideas can spring from anywhere.
For Gates and Portals, these architectural-based works have stemmed from various sources – an interest in ancient pilgrimage sites, mastery of craftsmanship, spiritual practices and sacred spaces, and contemporary technology.
WF: How do you transform your ideas into real, tangible works?
LD: When an idea continues to present itself, I begin to specifically gather information until I’m ready to prepare a series of canvasses and/or paper works. For Gates and Portals, I poured over books and references following intrigues and visual cues. A simple fascination sometimes led to a deepening mystery or universal theme.
When I am readying to paint, there is first a “feeling into” what I am engaging with – an energetic rapport – followed by a quick gathering of the materials and a loose technical mapping of my direction. If the preparations are too rigid, the creative flow becomes forced or closed to the potential for discovery but little or no framework can lack the necessary support.
Once painting starts, the creative process goes into another stage of evolution. No matter what I may have anticipated, there are always surprising developments. The aim is to keep the process alive, not stagnant or contrived.
Lori Dell’s Studio, Works in Progress
WF: What were the surprising developments in the creation of these works?
LD: From a technical standpoint, developments in composition and specific details were often a surprise encounter, presenting themselves from the initial abstracted background. Out of potentially hundreds or thousands of options in imagery, only a few would take shape.
WF: The paintings in Gates and Portals are complex. They have layers of architecture, text, colour, pattern and perspective. Tell us about these works and the materials you’ve used to create them.
LD: Alongside my staple of techniques, I always intentionally introduce new elements to keep the process fresh and challenging. The architectural works are mixed media; combinations and layers of inks and graphite, acrylic and oil, texturing and glazes.
Lori Dell, Gates of Babylon, 2014, Mixed Media on Canvas, 60”h x 40”w
WF: The show also features some limited edition prints of paintings that you produced a few years ago that you sold immediately upon completion directly from your studio. These are more urban than the paintings.
LD: Yes, the limited edition prints available in the show while more contemporary in subject than the larger paintings still reflect stories of the land, its people and their evolutions. The prints and paperworks offer an intimate compliment to the scope of the larger canvasses, and for the new collector, provide a more affordable alternative.
Lori Dell, Watertowers, 2008, Limited Edition Print, 30”h x 20”w
WF: Lori thank you so much for you insight into your creative process and for talking about your work featured in this incredible show – Gates and Portals.
LD: Thank you again to Wall Fiction for curating the show and I look forward to another show in the future.