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MUNTHE ART MONDAY: Gabrielle Graessle

Name: Gabrielle Graessle
Profession: Graphic designer and artist
Website: gabriellegraessle.com
Instagram: @gabriellegraessle

Tell us about yourself and what you do.

My name is Gabrielle Graessle, I was born in 1956 in Zurich, Switzerland.

I studied at the art school zhdk for 5 years and obtained a degree in graphic design.

I had my first exhibitions while still studying art, mostly with drawings.

In Switzerland in the 90s, drawing was one of the most important means of expression alongside photography and video.

I drew with charcoal, big and small, on paper. I drew with my hands, with brushes, homemade charcoal, the directness of the medium charcoal, the brittleness, which is getting blacker and blacker. It also fascinated me that it couldn't be corrected at that time.

Later on, at the beginning of 2000 my partner and I moved, first to France and later on to Spain. I left the art business, and we began to buy and renovate old houses and ruins in order to sell them later on.

That became a passion and we loved life, moving around with our construction projects. During this time, diary-like drawings were created.

In 2015 I made the decision to work intensively again and to immerse myself in my own work.

My new medium was painting, large format pictures, 180 x 130 cm. or 180 x 260.

My topics are varied and not easy to narrow down, I draw everything that goes through my head, without restrictions. Childhood memories, pictures from films, pictures that arise while reading, memories, nature, my garden, pictures from the newspaper, fashion, models, animals.

In a further process I develop the ideas from my drawings into paintings, transforming them.

When I am drawing the process is important. It gives me the freedom to move, I act without a goal. I may start with an idea. It can then take on a life of its own, go somewhere else entirely. I draw without thinking, pin the drawing on the wall and no longer look at it. Then the next one goes on just like that. The wall may become full, or it goes on the next day or a week later. That determines the desire to draw.

My paintings are figurative and often very colorful, kitsch.… I normally work on 4-6 canvases at the same time. I also work on several drawings and canvases at the same time, which frees me again and again and also leads to new topics.

Please explain how being a woman has affected your career?

The time when I began to actively practice art in Zurich, in the 90’s, was strongly influenced by the new media, such as photos and videos, but also by drawing.

The painting lost some of its meaning. the drawing gave me the opportunity to express my state of mind quickly and directly.

I think, the drawing is a typical medium for women, especially in my generation.

The drawing gave me the opportunity to spontaneously and directly express my situation and my state of being as a woman, and at that time the topics mainly revolved around the female body.

Women are also a frequent topic in my current series, the model, the pin-up, the queen.

The art and creativity always gave me a strong identity, an energy that shapes my life and gives me the opportunity to think and live independently.

I would not say that my art is women's art, nevertheless the topics often revolve around female images. Models, pinups, girls, Snow White and princess animals are common themes in my work.

Can you name some other female (artists) that inspire(s) you and explain why they do so?

At the beginning of my career, I was influenced by artists such as Silvia Bächli, Miriam Cahn, Leiko Ikemura and Rosemarie Trockel. Their drawings are spontaneous and sensitive, are a mirror of their inner world, the unadulterated expression of a picture, an idea ... like having a conversation.

Louise Bourgeois has always impressed me very much - how she translated the very personal circumstances of her life into drawings and sculptures and surprised even in old age with such wonderful, powerful work.

I love Yoko Ono, as a performer, as a musician, as an artist, as a woman, Rose Wylie and her great, childlike, playful imagery.

There are so many wonderful creative women like Pippilotti, Beatriz Milhazes, Charlene van Heyl.

I like their playful way of dealing with colors and shapes and images, releasing content from their surroundings and leading the viewer into new dream worlds.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?

In the art world there are more successful men than women, as in many other professions too, and it is certainly more difficult to assert yourself as a woman.

Art is a way for me to express myself as a woman at this time. Nevertheless, I don't see myself as a woman artist. I love art as such, gender and age don't interest me, I’m interested in independent work, its quality, its poetry.

I don't want my art to be seen only as women's art, I want my art to be viewed as an independent work, which you either like or dislike, it is good, interesting or not, poetic or not ...

The gender and age of the artist plays no role ...

It is important that women unite to achieve equality, also in the art world, in the art market.

I think we are getting closer and closer to this equality, thanks to social media and also thanks to the fact that more and more women are starting to get important positions in the art world and galleries.

Art has no gender.

If you could own one piece of art, what would it be and why?

I love big paintings, drawings are beautiful too, but I love big rooms with big windows and no doors, and big paintings hanging there.

It's a very difficult question, just as difficult if I had to decide on just one cd or a single book.

Well, I would very probably choose a picture of Basquiat, one of his pictures where

There is a lot written on it, a complex picture of him.

For example, TENOR from 1985. The reason - it combines drawing and painting, leaves a lot of space for the viewer, it allows many interpretations and moods, opens up a lot of spaces, it is sensitive and powerful at the same time.…. unfortunately, a bit expensive for my budget….

Each Monday MUNTHE brings you an interview with a new female artist. Follow MUNTHE ART MONDAY.