In C. Finley's Same Bed, Different Dreams, the New York and Rome-based artist has created paintings that are in dialogue with the universal nature of dreaming and the human desire to understand and order the meaning of dreams. The center of the exhibition is a series of vibrant, brightly colored paintings that are derived from the zodiac. Here, Finley discusses her exhibition and its influences with the staff of La Galleria.
Co-curators Matt Nasser and Sam Draxler sat down with C Finley to discuss astrology, color, living abroad, and working at La MaMa!
SD: Your paintings draw from so many different times and places. Where do you get your inspiration?
CF: Dance, color, spirit science, antiquity (time travel), friends, the NYPL picture file, Instagram, ARAS Jungian image file, great artists like Michelangelo and Bernini, as well as contemporary artists like Swoon and Olafur Eliasson. I am such a research queen, the inspiration is nonstop. Places include the Pantheon, Santa Maria in Trastevere, and the sea or ocean.
MN: How has being an expat influenced your artwork? Specifically, what role does Rome play in your work?
CF: Being neighbors with Bernini, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, among others, I feel challenged to create meaningful, great work. And the language barrier helps to keep me from being distracted by the world outside of my studio practice. Rome is dripping with beauty, the perfection of the architecture and the palette of the city fills me with enormous joy and beauty.
SG: What is your relationship to color? And what is its function in your work?
CF: There is never enough color. Color, Color, Color. The number and intensity of the colors I use gives each painting its own aura. How can I describe in words how much I love color, color mixing, and how colors come together in surprising ways? Color is an expression of my lust for life. If my heart had a color palette, it would be the Sagittarius painting.
SG: What is the connection between our dreams and the Zodiac? In your work, how do these worlds collide to become a portal into new understandings?
CF: Astrology is the art of the cycles of life, and for me, I used the astrological archetypes as a way to create visual representations of dreams. Jung once said that you could not work with dreams without a solid knowledge of mythology; and this is what I found trying to create visual portals into dreams. I love working with Mythopoeic concepts and this is the realm of myth, dream interpretation, and astrology. These systems are describing or translating the magic of experiences that are beyond words. My work aspires to create a contemporary, colorful and joyful vision of the mysteries of life.
MN: What was your first encounter with La MaMa?
CF: I saw Medea in 1999 because a dear friend, Eugene de Poogene was involved with Ellen Stewart's The Great Jones Repertory Company. I never missed a show after that, and I was very lucky to meet with Ellen. She is an inspiration.
SD: What does working at La MaMa Galleria mean to you?
CF: E V E R Y T H I N G! I have been trying to get a show at La MaMa Galleria for ten years. I adore Ellen Stewart and I love seeing shows at all of the venues. I am a total and complete La MaMa fangirl.