Artist Emily Zuch has a thing for puppets. As a psychologist and gallery curator I find it fascinating. I’m not sure I fully understand it but the outcome is dynamic, rich and complex paintings that bridge the space between imagination and reality.
Beginning in 2014, Zuch received a Fulbright Research and Study grant to travel to Leipzig and Stuttgart, where she observed the rehearsals of puppeteers and drew as they worked. The aim of these drawings was to examine the relationship between people and objects, create a cross-disciplinary collaboration between puppet theater and visual art, and bring deeper insight into her own use of puppets and stage-like set-ups in her larger-scale paintings.
Drawings from Figurentheater is a body of work made in collaboration with these contemporary puppeteers in Germany. We just added 15 works from this series to the gallery. Zuch graciously took some time out during a recent visit back to the US to show me the drawings and to tell me about them. I was really captivated hearing about her process for making these pieces and her goals for the drawings. This is how she explained it:
“My role in rehearsals was that of an observer and recorder, acting as a fly on the wall witnessing the creative process of these artists. At times I needed to make split second choices about the structure of any given drawing; whether to add layers and keep working although the scene in front of me was changing, or decide to move on to a new drawing. After observing rehearsals, I often brought the works back to my studio, re-drawing many of the pieces I had made on site in the theater with different colors and more tightly rendered forms.”
“The drawings you see here are a small selection from the final body of work, depicting many facets of the process of developing a theater piece; bodies in constant motion while rehearsing, puppets at rest, the detritus that collects throughout the days rehearsing and the long discussions spent figuring out how to move forward. The end result is a type of pictorial journal, chronicling the making of a vital and exciting form of theater.”
We are big believers that creativity abounds when adjacent or disparate fields join forces, sparking new ideas, possibilities and interconnections. As such, this type of collaboration pleases us no end and we are thrilled to add these works of art to the gallery.
Now if I could just figure out her things with puppets.