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Art & Life with Rema Ghuloum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rema Ghuloum.

Rema, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My mom immigrated to Los Angeles from Lebanon when she was 9 and my dad when he was 17 to attend school here at USC. I moved to Orange County from Los Angeles as a young child and I grew up there through high school. After graduating high school, I moved to San Francisco for college. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up not staying long. I was in a major car accident and I had to recover. My path changed its course at that point. I ended up traveling lot and ended up in Granada, Spain before returning back to San Francisco. I came back Los Angeles and then Long Beach for college where I studied painting. Immediately after graduating with a BFA from CSULB, I attended the MFA program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. I finally ended up moving back to Los Angeles in 2011. I have been here since.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I work pretty fluidly between painting and sculpture. My processes are pretty improvisational and inform one another indirectly. The ways in which one sees, feels, recalls, and absorbs an experience is fascinating to me and I try to translate and transform sensations through painting.

My paintings emerge out of the process of slowly building up the surface with thin stains of paint and sanding in between to preserve the previous layers. Pattern and shapes are manifested through this process and aren’t predetermined. Like cellular memory in the body, this allows for the memory of the painting to be subtly visible, appearing and then dissolving. I try to create a surface that breathes and remembers. I also want the paintings to appear slightly sculptural. I want them to appear to be in a state of becoming; not pinned down, always shifting and transforming.

I approach my sculptures in a slightly different way. I compare the way I make them to the way a child might discover making something like a paper hat for the first time. The forms are not predetermined either. I usually sit on the floor of my studio before responding to the materiel that I have used most often; foam. I begin by carving shapes out without discretion. A shape may start out as a squiggle, which then becomes an edge, and eventually has volume. Those initial decisions happen fast and I allow them to direct the outcome. I then carve, prime, paint, build up, scrape, and sand the surfaces. The sculptures are usually intimate in scale while also visceral, awkward, and appear touched. They emerge through this process as objects that are somewhat unrecognizable, but might embody a physical, emotional, and vulnerable place that is felt, unexplained with words.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think that the biggest challenge that face artists today is finding the support that one needs to really develop. Instagram and other social media platforms have definitely made a lot more artists visible which is great and I think it has created opportunities for people to connect. I think if there were more resources available for artists it would make things easier. Often artists are forced to work two or three jobs to survive and support their work, which isn’t sustainable. It seems to be especially difficult for women and artists of color to find support as well.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Currently, I am in two group shows; “Airtight Garage” curated by Laurie Nye at Big Pictures, Los Angeles and “Getting Physical” curated by Raymie Iadevaia and Keith Monda at Basement Projects. I will be an artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans in May and will be there through the beginning of June. I also will be participating in a group show; Vernacular Environments Part 2 curated by David De Boer that opens at Edward Cella art + Architecture on June 9th.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.remaghuloum.com
  • Email: remghuloum@gmail.com
  • Instagram: remaghuloum
  • Facebook: remghuloum

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