Publication - Generous Magazine - highlights collaboration

We were please that our work was included, with an interview about collaboration by Kyle Seis  in Generous Magazine Issue 2, Winter 2016.  Generous is a periodic publication that foregrounds new work by those who create outside the confines of the cannon. Generous takes risks and values spontaneity.
Our work was commissioned as Exquisite Duos.
Exquisite Duos Interviews by Kyle Seis

Founders/Editors - Khine Hline, aryn kresol, Nate Pyper, designer


Barbara Ciurej
How does a collaborative art practice compare to a traditional marriage?
 I have wilder dreams when I sleep in the studio.

What were you making before connecting with Lindsay?

 I was obsessed with a pair of red spiked heels that belonged to my mother. I was setting up and photographing narratives starring the shoes. Turns out Lindsay fit into those shoes. I was also working on a project trying to picture infinity.

How has living in different cities affected your process?

Double everything. We can be in two places at the same time. Information multiplies and migrates. Spheres overlap. I appreciate that distance gives space and time to think and research separately before coming together in the studio. As I make the two-hour trek from Chicago for a stay at the studio in Milwaukee, it is a welcome meditative interlude.

Would your practice be radically different as an individual?

I would still be working with photography but I wouldn't be having as much fun and I certainly would not get as much done.  We started working collaboratively so early in our formative years, trying to move beyond our individual experience into the collective realm, that it is hard to imagine how I would tackle those themes without finding another collaborator. Because I have maintained a dual career as a photographer and a graphic designer, I think my formalist tendencies would be more evident.
What have you learned from Lindsay?

How to argue. I used to back away from arguments but now see them as part of a rigorous practice. There is tension in collaborating but good tension that suspends the work between our divergent points of view.  We argue over everything – from exasperatingly trifling topics like how small is a small dog to big issues like social responsibility. Learning to reason through and defend your choices is articulation of vision.
The value of experimenting. Lindsay is a tireless experimenter. Just when I think we are finished with a project, she will tear it apart, print it backwards, turn it upside down, see what happens if we bend the frame. I am more reluctant to do that but admit that approach yields surprises and pushes the work. Even when we throw away all the experiments, there is a sense we have left no stone unturned in testing the work.
An irreverant attitude. She has always had a more heightened worldly sense while I tend to float in idealism. I have learned to do more research and critically question assumptions, canons and historical narratives, which is essential to the projects we produce.

Lindsay Lochman
How does a collaborative art practice compare to a traditional marriage?
I’m not sure what a traditional marriage is.…..like Adam and Eve? Ward and June Cleaver?  Maybe you mean a traditional artist marriage, like Eleanor and Harry Callahan?
So consider these comparisons:
We have not made collaborative vows to each other at church or in city hall,
but you must not assume that the images we have produced are illegitimate. We have never had sex, but when mind-melds sometimes occur, it is thrilling. It may be possible to consider our collaboration to be like a menage a trois:  photographs, Barbara and me.

Prior to Barbara, did you ever envision sharing a practice with someone?
Prior to meeting Barbara, I considered myself a potential artist. This notion was not encouraged, however, because it was feared I might turn out like my Aunt Cordelia.
At that time, the dawn of post-modern art, artistic collaboration was only beginning to be a way of making artwork.Our collaboration was totally unanticipated or premeditated. After so many years, it remains very organic in it’s structure and somewhat mysterious, even to us. It’s not an arrangement for the faint hearted artist.

What did your first work together look like?
Like ritualistic nose-thumbing in White Sands, New Mexico.

What are the biggest differences between you and Barbara?
Our brains. Although we share a similar visual aesthetic and production standards, differences can be seen in the way we process information and in our working methods.

My work is a non-linear embrace of ideas, processes and research which I combine and transform through manipulation with my fingers. I produce objects and images for evaluation. Barbara is wide open to experience, fulfilled by communication and interaction with humanity. Her process displays focus, patience and optimism; she is skilled in the use of InDesign.

What does the future look like?
I don’t know, but that is why we are beginning a project concerning Divination. We do continue to explore the bleak metaphorical landscape of childcare in America and we have also made plans to flee the four walls of our studio and make photographs en plein air.

Future exhibitions include Forged Worlds in DUMBO organized by Sam Barzillay at United Photo Industries (July 29th 1916 through July 2017); Processed Views at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center (October 14 - November 23, 2016). The rest is a surprise for us to know, and for you to find out…Our work is currently featured in Lost in Space: Contemporary Photographers and the New Landscape at Rick Wester Fine Art, NYC through July 29th.


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