Artist Interview: Maria Positano

By Katharina Wenzel-Vollenbroich
Artist Interview: Maria Positano Artist Interview: Maria Positano
Maria is an emerging and London based artist, originally from Italy. Her practice is shaped by exploration and a polyhedral approach where she is constantly looking for new solutions, with variation of material solutions and the combination of 2D and 3D languages.
Your early educational background is history and tradition of the arts; you then continued your studies in London in contemporary art and contemporary practices. Why and when did you decide to become an artist?
I always felt the urge to create and to make things, and this impulse grew with me and established its way into my daily life. Years of commitment to the art practice consolidated my impulsive urge to make thing into a habit, and a discipline. Art is what I do every day, and it became my life. I always had a strong sense for tactile experience and always loved materials and color, never that that was a choice. In the year in which I was in high school I decided art was going to be a career and a life commitment and still now I follow that choice.
What inspires you daily to commence being an artist?
My latest work has been inspired by artefacts and monoliths as symbolic containers, objects of veneration and mystery. Looking at the layering of symbolic meaning projected onto the object of worship, which turns the inanimate object into a dynamic matter. Looking at objects derived from alchemical processes or sciamanic investitures, symbols of the human strive to unconceal the unknown things. I am interested in the human need to research for meaning, and consequently to create meaning through manipulating matter. Looking at the element of fire, burned wood, metal making processes and clay, as first explored material associated with rituals and ceremonies, my recent work is about objects of worship, which seem to hold a life and a presence of their own. I have been exploring symbols, unknown relics, object of veneration and power, military and Brutalist architectures, ancient rituals and myths, religions, monoliths etc. Exploring the psychological engagement and immersive experience with the object, and the unsettling quality they intrinsically might convey. I see my work as charged spaces and portals through the inside and the outside. The object offers the possibility for a moment of realization of their mesmerizing mystery and a glimpse of what they might hold. I am interested in experiences that help understand and reflect on the self and the on the notion of being human.
There are ups- and downs, challenges and maybe sometimes even moments where it might be hard to “create” – what is the greatest challenge you have come across during your artistic practice?
I think that the greatest challenge for my practice was to keep balance between the art, the environment I was in and my persona. It occurred to me that personal insecurities and situations around me, shape the quality of the relationship I succeed to establish with my practice. I feel that to create is a fragile balance, which often is overtaken by life dynamics, moods etc. What really was difficult to me was to realize was that when I felt stressed, angry or happy it always had, and still has an impact on what I make. Sometimes to make anything becomes impossible, because it seems that the state of mind in which you are in completely enables you, or disables you to create things.
For example, when I moved to England, I felt deeply homesick; my general state of mind was continuously projected over a future in which I could have gone back to my hometown. Consequently, it shaped my art practice, sometimes by becoming the reflection of my sufferance, sometimes by being unable to make or concentrate. I spent a lot of energy trying to find an inner balance, which could allow me to be almost constantly tuned with the possibility of making. I became aware of an important lesson: Art making, state of mind and environment are inseparable, one shapes another into an endless dialogue. I now try to be patient, to accept the process and to transform every emotion of inspiration into other things and into art. Transmutation became the key for my practice to stay dynamic. This great challenge became for me to find a new synthesis, and channel all of it into my practice.
From what we can see you are mixing techniques and materials in a very unique manner. Could you explore a little deeper how and what you are using?
My latest work engages with printing, metal working, wood working, bronze and wax casting and drawing. My main techniques of interest have been printing, building and most of all drawing. My last project is focusing on the repeated action involved in the process of creation and the ritualistic quality of making. I am incorporating fire as the main element behind my sculptural processes: burning wood, casting bronze and melting wax. My work on paper, instead, is reproducing the feeling of a vanishing object through materials like dust, charcoal, applying thin layers of paint or ink. Generally, for the past years I have been focusing on creating structures and referencing them through work on paper or canvas. I am using materials such as burned wood, steel, bronze, was, paper and inks, charcoal and graphite powder. I am also planning to use clay and terracotta, forge and to further incorporate installation elements into the work.
What has been your inspiration for the series that you displayed on Artpiq?
For this series I was trying to find an eloquent visual language to explore the concepts I was interested in, experimenting the dynamics of signs and monochrome surfaces. I created a series of monotypes, which a limited selection is on Artpiq, on the conversation between wide black monochrome sections and dynamic different signs. I wanted to create a nice contrast between full and empty, negative and positive, creating a narrative for my monolithic shape These create the sense of an inner motion within the monolith, which powerfully extrudes from the object. The monotype has always been a very inspirational technique for me, because it allowed me to create controlled images, with great expressive power.  
You are and have been exploring a wide range of materials and themes throughout your artistic practice. How would you describe your genre and style?
My style resonates with the idea of mixing together the fascination for the ancient and the historical, with the language of a contemporary art practice. I like the idea of a genre in which harmony is created referencing the history and the new. My work is also referencing artistic genres like Modernism, Expressionism, generally engaging with the material's quality itself and the immediate and quick transfer of the image onto a canvas or into a piece of work. I would describe my work as strong, expressive, moody and layered. I also think my practice situate in the conceptual field and in the research-driven practices.
What is your dream and objective for the future?
For the future, I want to consolidate my career as an artist, as in full time and around Europe. I also want to study to become a counsellor and work with artist from all over the world to understand their practice better and to define what they want to communicate as artists. I want to incorporate the creative process and my art practice with my passion for self-discovery and self-developmental disciplines.
You recently won the ‘The Merlin Entertainments' Madame Tussaud’s Project Fund Award. What else are your biggest achievements so far? What are you most proud of?
I am proud of what I am attaining in London, in terms of personal achievements and goals. I think establishing my practice through participating to exhibitions, events, prizes and bursaries. Generally, I am happy with what I learned to do here, which was a completely new mindset for me. I am proud of the daily work I am putting in my practice.
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Artist Interview: Maria Positano Artist Interview: Maria Positano

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