Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of speaking with Michal Geva, a painter currently taking a residency in Greenpoint, where she is further exploring the intersection of art and nature – a theme interwoven throughout her work and illuminated in different ways with each series. The neighborhood is a relevant setting for such topics, with the proposed development that might be taking place over the next few years, both on the waterfront and deeper into Greenpoint proper.
Michal, a citizen of Israel and honorary one in Greenpoint, had some great things to say about the neighborhood and the inspiration behind her latest collection, “Land Scope,” which opened at Java Studios this past weekend.
GP: Tell me about your opening here at Java Studios Gallery.
Michal: I’m from Israel and I live in Tel Aviv but I’m here for a while living and working in Greenpoint for this show. In my work, I always use architectural images and landscapes and their place in nature. It became more abstract in the past 2 years. In all of my paintings, a constant is that the ground is always unstable. There’s always a lot of movement and the weight is shifting – sometimes it’s like there’s no ground at all. But there is also an interesting perspective and depth. There is something that draws you into the painting but at the same time you wouldn’t really have anything to stand on if you were in it. Everything is very fragile.
GP: It’s an interesting exhibit, with Greenpoint being redeveloped the way it is. I’m curious – why did you choose Greenpoint?
Michal: Actually, I’m here with my family who lives here and I worked on this exhibit in my brother’s studio. It’s a great inspiration to work here – with the industrial, tough aesthetics. It’s all New York and toughness. I think I had a big change with colors here; something happened when I arrived in New York – I was more into blues and greens. It’s a very colorful exhibition, compared to ones I’ve done in the past.
GP: How is it different from your work in Tel Aviv?
Michal: It’s different working in a new place – I think that’s a big thing. My schedule and environment is different. My work here is more abstract – there’s less of a sharp architecture focus, like houses and structures. I used to deal with more defined structures and my work produced here resembles more of a minimalist sculpture or landscape. It’s less and less defined and the scale isn’t really clear. Less specific. But as I get to know a place and experiment with different styles, it broadens my overall research and style no matter where I work.
GP: How long have you been in Greenpoint?
Michal: A month. This exhibition is a continuation of my others. But I’m having residencies in different cities.
GP: Are there specific aspects of the neighborhood that inspired you for this particular show?
Michal: Greenpoint is a neighborhood with a huge artist population, and I think there are some interesting things happening here on many levels. There is a lot of movement here and on a greater scale, there’s a movement taking place here. Something bubbling. Which in turn makes it a great place to make art.