Alice’s Gur-Arie’s work is being exhibited at the Curious Duke Gallery in London until 28th January 2017.
Alice began her career as a copywriter and graphic designer, eventually responsible for positioning global brands, and developing and executing their marketing and communication strategies.
Returning to her creative roots several years ago as an artist/photographer, Alice has produced five exhibitions, including The Iceland Trilogy, held at the Embassy of Iceland in London, and Black, White and Red held in Nice, France.
In what way has your previous career influenced your work?
Two ways. First of all, I know that communication that appeals to the head and the heart will be more effective. What do I mean by effective? Engage; get attention; pursuade; shift attitudes; make an impression; be remembered.
A message that resonates on both levels will usually have a deeper effect.
Secondly, I learned to never make assumptions about how people will respond to a message or a creative work. Every response is valid, and second guessing is not wise.
For both these reasons it’s vital for me to listen to viewers and understand how they feel about a work; what they think about a work; what they like and don’t like; which is just as important. Asking 2, 20 or 200 people could result in 2, 20 or 200 different responses. And there is no right or wrong, there’s only how that individual responds. So very simply, I try to create work that engages on both levels.
Who or what is your greatest influence on your life and art?
The answer to this is not singular. To some great extent, I have to credit my parents with nurturing the seeds of those characteristics that make me Me. My mother instilled in me a romantic’s desire for adventure, and my father – who, in a different time and place could have been a successful pen and ink illustrator – fostered in me a sense of curiosity about the world; applauded the virtues of attention to detail; and as a young girl, introduced me to art. Both of them encouraged my talents (I am also a writer, and began life as a classical pianist), and taught me the fundamental importance of believing in, relying upon and trusting myself. The second significant influence on my life was the time I spent in Israel as a teenager, where I completed high school, and lived through a war. Aside from stimulating a lifelong appetite for travel, the years I spent there taught me not merely to tolerate, but to seek out and applaud “difference”; tutored me in resilience; and gave me the courage and confidence to choose the more difficult road if it offered what I wanted.
The third influence is my education, where I gained a deep understanding that people are driven by a complex mix of rational as well as emotional factors. I try to apply this insight to my art, creating images that I hope appeal to both a viewer’s head and heart.
All this underpins my life and my work, and helps explain how and why I do what I do.
Where do you call home and where did you study?
I travel extensively and I’ve lived in France for the last year or so but London is my permanent home. I completed high school in Tel Aviv, and have three degrees from York University, in Toronto, Canada.
Do you have a favourite piece of your own work?
It could be that an image evokes the memory of a certain place or experience, or I am delighted with the texture of air that I have been able to achieve. Certainly, as time goes by and my style and technique evolve, my thoughts and feelings about earlier work change.
It also is difficult because my work covers a range of themes. I am probably best known for landscapes and seascapes, but I also have exhibited wildlife (Merlin’s Forest), produced series of abstract art based on surfaces (Walls), and have a number of aerial series (LA Nights, Nevada
Desert, Over North). And of course, I also do “straight” street photography, always adding to my In Public Places collection. So there are many images that move me for different reasons, but there is not one piece that I favour over everything else.
Texture seems to be a re-occurring ‘motif’ as it were in your work – why is this?
Texture evokes a sensory response, and whether it is felt with the eyes or the skin or finger tips it’s one of the ways we engage with and understand the world. To me it’s as natural to explore texture as it is to explore colour or shape. It’s also a way to move beyond the flat surface of a photograph.
I have an image from Iceland called Mountain, which has received a lot of attention (including being auctioned at Christie’s and making the CultureLabel Top Ten Artworks List). It has quite remarkable depth. So much so that I have seen more than once, in exhibitions, people actually looking behind it, to where it is hanging, to see how it’s projected! That’s what I want to achieve with texture….people literally reaching out to touch the image.