Sylvia Wuensche-Wienands

Born in: 1954, Stuttgart, Germany
Lives in: Naperville, Illinois, USA
Describe your art in three words: colorful, semi abstract, mystical
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"I believe one purpose of art is to freeze a moment in time, to pause life, either to have time to ponder about the object or to have the feeling that things are eternal and not subject to constant change and decay.
Emotional impact usually matters to me more than the actual object. Different colors and contrast create different moods so I mainly create lyrical semi abstract "mood pictures"."

What themes does your work involve?
"I get inspired by walking in nature and taking photos, often in macro settings, which makes abstract compositions possible. Using spiritual texts I create associations and visions for my paintings (e.g Buddhist writings from Koyasan, Japan and mystical writings from texts of medieval saints); color plays a major role to establish an emotional connection. Development of themes by listening to classical music evolve: e.g. Lyadov: Enchanted Lake for mood on a Lake Michigan painting, redemption theme in The Flying Dutchman by Wagner)."
Describe your creative process.
My work often starts with photos I take that I find interesting in mood, color, composition and/or atmosphere. I develop the photos further by e.g. cropping or turning the photo around to emphasize its abstractness. For painting the photo is an inspiration and not copied literally. I have different styles that range from plein air to dreamlike to semi-abstract and abstract paintings. I work intuitively and don’t always have a clear idea of the end product right away, but I know in what direction I want to take the art piece. All my work has a mystical, somewhat spiritual quality even if not always explicit. My semi-abstract work does not reveal the object immediately. I work in a series of at least three pictures in painting, the photos usually stand alone.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I am influenced by art of the great masters. I lived in Europe until age 30 and went to famous museums in the former Soviet Union, France, Italy and Germany, thus was confronted with many art styles and philosophies. Moving to Canada and the United States widened my horizon even more. Since I am a colorist I especially enjoy the Fauvists and Emil Nolde for painting. Monet inspires my photography as he uses the same subject matter in different light situations (Haystack and Rouen Cathedral series), changing the color hues. Making art delights my soul and I enjoy interpreting the world by being inspired by other art forms like music, mythology and stories. They are directly or indirectly always part of my visual art.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Apart from formal criteria like good composition, color balance, mastery of technique the art piece has to make an emotional impact. Technical skill and expressiveness are essential for the creative process. Combined they elicit an emotional response so the viewer can connect. It invites reflection on a visual level. The love and effort an artist has spent to create his/her work needs to shine through. Then it feels like authentic art. For me, good art always includes hope.
What is the role of the artist today?
The artist invites others to look at the world differently on a visual level to expand their horizons. He/She makes connections with the community, in person and via social media. Art does not always give an obvious message but can leave room for interpretation by the viewer. It is crucial to be genuine and express what is inside you, not what society expects. Authenticity should show in your art. Celebrate life and hope!


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist