Michal Raz (b. 1984) is a fresh emerging artist who creates visual systems of perplexity on canvases. Based on experimentation and playfulness, Raz has developed puzzling visualizations for tricking the viewer’s eyes, setting up canvases to look three-dimensional. Her artistic language is characterised by the mixture of geometric patterns, strong contrasts, abstraction, striking colours, collage and digital printing. Op Art elements also contribute into the painting result further challenging the visual effects of her artistry.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
All these elements in conjunction with the use of her varied techniques equip Raz to make a great impact on the viewer. Drawing inspiration from notions of distortion, an amplified sense of illusion tests the viewer’s capabilities to feel engaged with her mind- bending paintings. “As my paintings are dealing with order and disorder, some planning is necessary, but I leave plenty of space for randomness and playfulness which goes along with the dynamic nature of the works” Raz herself highlights.
A superabundance of forms and lines without boundaries not only appear exciting but also turns exaggerated in relation to its polychromatic surroundings. Staring at a particular colourful stripe or line for a few seconds, the eye directly leads to another visual field of the painting. Possibly the longer the viewer pays attention at the painting, the more these random lines offers some chances to enter into the three-dimensional world. Bright coloured and glowing-wired compositions underline the artist’s intention to avoid definitions in regards to her abstract art practice. Raz uses this enthusiastically laboured perspective to control the manifold shapes, lines and colours of her abstract arrangements, rendering images that embody contemporary pop aesthetics.
Born in Jerusalem, Michal Raz lives and works in London. The artist has a background in visual communication and holds a BFA from Hamidrasha School of Art in Israel. Raz is now completing her MFA at the Slade School of Art in London where her degree show is now taking place until June 17. The Israeli artist has exhibited her work both in her home country and the United Kingdom.
In her interview with Art Verge, Michal Raz shares her approach on abstract art and other art issues, while providing some very interesting insights about her daily life. Check it out!
Art Vegre: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Michal Raz: My most recent works synthesise screen printing, painting and collage. I start with the print, a digitally made pattern, so my ‘Blank Canvas’ already has some pictorial information on it. I then use paint, tape, stickers, different mediums and images. As my paintings are dealing with order and disorder, some planning is necessary, but I leave plenty of space for randomness and playfulness which goes along with the dynamic nature of the works.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
MR: I’m trying to avoid definitions when it comes to my practice 🙂
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
MR: I’m inspired by musicians, visual artists, writers, filmmakers, thinkers, and the list is very long. As my work is also about quoting different artists, my archive of influences is constantly expanding. I’m also very inspired by my friends- amazing group of artists who make brilliant work that has influenced my practice and my thinking process.
AV: Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
MR: Working in the studio can indeed be a solitary process, but luckily, I’m surrounded by many artists friends whom I share a lot with and we can talk about the works and give each other advices. Gladly, not all my friends are artists!
AV: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
MR: In a way, my paintings are never finished, but I just have to stop at a certain point; when I have a deadline, when I’m working on other things such as videos and objects or when I get too bored.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
MR: I need order and cleanness in my studio, otherwise I can’t focus. I’m usually super tidy. I’m just looking for a new studio at the moment and it’s like looking for a new flat. I take my time because I want to find the right one.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
MR: Howard Hodgkin at the Gagosian.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
MR: My work is open for interpretation and I’m trying to avoid linear narratives or final definitions. A person I didn’t know who visited my degree show at the Slade (which is on until 17th of June) said he felt a satisfying disorientation and a harmonious noise when he was in my space. It made me very pleased.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
MR: She’s very supportive. Both my parents are. Needless to say, they are the least objective people in the world when it comes to my work.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
MR: Definitely a morning person! I wake up very early and go to yoga class or walk in the park before I go to the studio. It’s my healthy addiction.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
MR: I moved to London from Tel Aviv for my studies and I’m planning to stay and work here. At the moment, I’m looking for a studio with a few friends from school and I have so many new ideas so as soon as I’ll have a space to work I’m going to have a lot to do.