Guiding Memory

Rosi Maria Di Meglio has recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at Concordia University. Her artistic practice focuses on space and memory, on real life experiences and transformation. She considers herself a poetic abstract expressionist artist. Her philosophy is founded on the ideas that art has the power to move people whether they are observing or creating.

Guiding Memory, Oil on Canvas, 2017 (still image from video)

Richard Bright: Can we begin by you saying something about your background?

Rosi Maria di Meglio: I find it so awkward to talk about myself, I never know what to say or how to begin….let me say this- I am born first generation Canadian, my parents emigrated from Italy in the 60’s. I was born in Vancouver, BC and moved to Montreal when I was 5 years old. I grew up on the West Island of Montreal with my 5 brothers and sister; I am the fourth of six children. I still live and work on the West Island of Montreal with my husband and six children. My artist practice is based at home, in my artist studio in Senneville. I am currently completing my double BFA in Painting & Drawing and Art Education. My goal is to continue my studies and then complete an MFA in Painting & Drawing while continuing my body of work on exploring space and memory. I consider myself a poetic abstract expressionist painter, exploring the push and pull of the canvas to create space between the foreground and background: to find a space to rest to remember the moment(s) from my life; the experiences which I want to paint and relive in a different way through colour, shape and form.

RB: Have there been any particular influences to your art practice?

RM: Although, my art practice is fairly young, I would have to say that my influences come from various sources of painters, poets, philosophers and theorists, but if I had to begin with one influence which allowed me to accept my creative vision and create the works I want to create that would be a combination of my Concordia professor David Elliot, who initiated my curiosity of self- reflection; my voice as an artist and the question of what it is that I want to explore as a painter , and abstract painter Per Kirkeby whose writings about art and philosophy is like reading my own thoughts, through reading I realized that I am not alone in my thoughts; others think in this way. Per Kirkeby’s writings on mindfulness and the importance on recording/documenting moments resonates with my ideology on space and memory in my work. Per Kirkeby writings in some way gave me permission to believe in my work and acknowledge how important it is to create no matter what.

Mainly, I pull from my personal repertoire of life experiences for inspiration to create work through photographs, but I also get inspired when responding to readings, poems, other artworks, research, social injustices, and political actions.

RB: What is the underlying focus and vocabulary of your work?

RM: My work has a poetic language about itself, it moves between space, colour and form. I enjoy exploring the space between the background and the foreground. My work focuses on space and memory. All my works come from personal photos of my past adventures, experiences, family events….you name it! When looking through my repertoire of photos I am searching for the memory to produce an emotion and that’s when I know I can work with this moment to create art. Although, my final work does not resemble the actual photo, I am not looking for perfect figuration or replica of a photo; I am working to create a poetic experience with my memories, the space on the canvas and emotion. My work is very personal…I have my own dialogue with each work to get it to completion. I know that the artwork is successful when I can hear the dialogue and feel the memory.

Unknown, Ink on Mylar, 2017 (detail)

RB: Can you say something about your collaboration with Benny Karcerovky, with the work Unknown?

RM: My collaborative work with Benny was very evolutionary, in that the artwork changed several times before we found an idea that could and would best represent Benny’s research. We each had ideas of what we wanted to create; Benny was involved in the creative process. It was important for me as an artist educator that this artwork best represent the research and bring a level of accessibility and understanding to the public that might not be reachable through Benny’s research writings. When Benny explained mitochondria and his research project I immediately visualized the subway/metro lines to mitochondria. Through visual cues and layering I created an ink drawing to reflect the mitochondria’s job within the brain. Using layers of coloured ink to create line works and then emphasising certain lines to create a subway/metro map within the drawing, but still not losing the sense of brain matter in the drawing.

This artwork has many visual cues such as: the ink colours magenta and green– to represent the colours that Benny uses to see the mitochondria under the microscope, the layering of drawings-to represent the number of slides which are needed to see the mitochondria, the light board– to magnify the lines to represent the pathways the mitochondria uses to travel. All these cues to better help the viewer understand the complexity of his research. This collaborative work required patience and teamwork, which we both had, thus a successful artwork!

Unknown, Ink on Mylar, 2017 (detail)
Unknown, Ink on Mylar, 2017 (detail)
Unknown, Ink on Mylar, 2017 (detail)
Unknown, Ink on Mylar, 2017 (detail)
Unknown, Ink on Mylar, 2017 (detail)
Unknown, Ink on Mylar, 2017 (detail)

RB: Can you say something about Guiding Memory, your collaborative video with neuroscientist Ian Beamish?


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