Artist Rose Feller on Why She is Using AI to Blend Her Own Works With Imagery From Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud

While on the surface the roles of artist and dealer can seem diametrically opposed, for Rose Feller, a Hungarian-born artist and the founder of Gloucester’s Agartha Gallery, supporting fellow artists is an intrinsic extension of her own creative process. Feller says that her gallery—which frequently collaborates with disabled and self-taught artists—is meant to be a welcoming place for all. This mission is a personal one: After leaving a physically abusive relationship in 2008, Feller found healing through her own art practice.  

A maximalist artist who works with multimedia and recycled material, Feller recently embarked on a new series of works that use artificial intelligence technologies to reconfigure references from Feller’s own works, along with favorite art-historical references, such as Francis Bacon, Chaïm Soutine, and Lucien Freud.  

Recently, we spoke with the artist and dealer about her use of technology and the role that the sublime plays in her creations. 

Rose Feller, artist and founder of Agartha Gallery.

Rose Feller, artist and founder of Agartha Gallery.

If you had to describe your recent work using AI in three sentences, what would you say?
Subject matter: locating the beauty that can be found in things that appear ugly or deformed. Approach: My sources are sometimes found on the internet, or other times reference my earlier works or other artists’ works, and after choosing my source imagery I work with AI technology to create the final image. Practice: I like to mix materials as I have done that since my childhood.

How do you sift through various images—both your own and references from art history—and choose which ones to bring together using AI?
My artistic process is very intuitive, so I communicate with the images, listening to the materials, making sense of how different images extend each other. When I make my work, I feel that I am connecting with artificial intelligence through my brain. The art historian and critic Denise Carvalho, who has written about my work, says recent neuroscience advances can show that states of emotion can be detected through CT scans. So there are levels of cognitive perception that science is still discovering.
Once you’ve decided on the images you want to blend together, where does the AI come in?
I upload the image and use different numbers of codes and then the image is made. A lot of my process is by chance. I don’t know what the result will be. If I am not happy with the result, I delete it; if I like it, I keep it. Often, I work with the same image for a few months, and I continue to bring the image to newer codes in the software, making it more what I want. But I am always working with chance and the software.
Rose Feller, Metamorphosis (2020). Courtesy of Agartha Gallery.

Rose Feller, Metamorphosis (2020). Courtesy of Agartha Gallery.

This work has been described as “disfiguration.” Can you explain that?

I am playing with the deconstruction of the word “figure” and its function through AI. I am creating a process of erasure and redefinition of the figure, making an image that appears to be ugly and disturbing due to its subjective appearance, but is at once beautiful aesthetically. In a sense, I want to help to cleanse the image of the bad of disturbing possibilities it has.

Who are the artists who most inspire you?

Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and Robbie Barrat, who also utilizes AI.

You’ve emphasized that Agartha Gallery is an inclusive environment, so I’m wondering how the gallery supports that mission?

If anybody contacts me I look at the work. I don’t judge anything about the person, but if I like the work I take it. True art is all I’m looking for—art that comes through a more intuitive, creative process, that brings in the experiences of the artist. This isn’t about what the market or art schools say is art.
Rose Feller, Phoenix. Courtesy of Agartha Gallery.

Rose Feller, Phoenix. Courtesy of Agartha Gallery.

You’ve mentioned that your personal experiences with violence have been influential to your art making as a form of healing. Can you tell me more about that?

Yes, my own experiences of violence and abuse in various relationships have led me to connect with images that can sometimes seem disturbing. I am able to communicate with the image, able to feel myself in pain, and I want to change the image almost like a process of healing of the image. I do hope, also, to create more visibility and awareness of the issue of domestic abuse, and let people know that many women need a lot more help.

What roles do terror and the sublime play in your work?

I had a realization after speaking to Denise Carvalho about this AI series and telling her more about the background for it. She reached art history and philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and one of her main interests is in the sublime as related to Burke and Kant. There are two notions of the sublime: terror according to Burke, and beauty according to Kant. Through my ability to link images through AI, I have been able to see how very beautiful images can suddenly transform into something terrifying. That transformation presents the true power of an image to me.

The post Artist Rose Feller on Why She is Using AI to Blend Her Own Works With Imagery From Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud appeared first on artnet News.

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