An Interview with Pat Rosenmeier conducted by Dr. Veit Görner, Director of the KestnerGesellschaft, Hannover in March 2007

Veit Görner:  Ms. Rosenmeier,  the internationally successful Canadian artists we’ve gotten to know, Ken Lum, Jeff Wall, Stan Douglas or Jannett Cardiff and Angela Bulloch, work conceptual or in mediums such as photography, video or installation.  You, however, paint.  Is this limiting?

Pat Rosenmeier: No, not at all.  I appreciate these artist, especially Jeff Wall, who has been pivotal in showing new posiblities in photography.  My decision to paint has to do with the fact, that, only through this medium, I’ve been able to translate my imagination and specific ideas for the images.  Painting is completely different from photography.  Every medium has its own mine field.

VG:  Now a days, painting is quite diversified between abstraction and representationalism, a stance between the heir of Kandinsky and painting from photographs,  an antagonism –  in my opinion an artistic preference -  between context and form and the immanent demand and denial of  painting and handwork.  What are you driven by?

Well, in short, I like to move the paint around on the canvas.  I’m interested in seeing what there is to discover between the paint and the brush.  Good paintings consist of good moments, by this, I don’t necessarily mean beautiful moments.  These moments can also be consciously decided as unappealing moments.  They work side by side.  Because I paint from real objects , although I don’t consider myself to be a representational painter, for me composition is inapplicable.  I look to the work of O’Keefee, Baselitz, Kirkeby, as well as Förg for his lead images that are very architechtual - tapered and with many openings.

VG:  Your current works are titled from a Magnolia plant.  How did you come up with this title?

Completely unspectacularly.  I have a Magnolia in my garden and I was inspired by it.  I took a picture of it, painted it and incorperated distorted layers on canvas with watercolors.  If you could see the sketch on the canvas,  only with a lot of imagination would you be able to recognize the object. It’s enough for me to know what I’m working with.  My interest is not in carrying out a motif.  It is much more the question, what facets can be brought forth to take my painting further.  It’s like a trial run with continuously new variations.  The Magnolia is arbitrary, it could have been something else.  You have to imagine it as with Pollock’s “drippings”.  He found a method for himself that, in many of his paintings, always rose new questions that he wanted to answer. 
For me, it’s a similar situation.  For example, Black Magnolia was my first black painting.  Of course,  I think of Malewitsch or Ad Reinhard.  The black painting is an art historical fact and not a representational truth, or have you already seen a black Magnolia? I paint because I try to apply general art historical questions to painterly methods.  I don’t have to answer to the black square but I do want to behave for it  (because I like it). 

V.G: What about Urban Magnolia and Hurricane Magnolia?

They are both “free radicals”, by which I mean, paintings that emerged out of a conscious mischieviousness.   For me, in each painting there are moments of doubt.  Sometimes, I see no way back to the original goal.  Than, I paint riskily because I’ve already parted myself from these paintings.  In other words, there’s nothing to be saved.  And that’s where new associations are made, such as urban textures and the swirls of a hurricane.  Through this, a new plane occurs that I can continue to paint on. 

V.G: When I take a closer look at your paintings, they seem to be a mixture between  calculated, physical color processes and deliberate painting.

Yeah, of course, this is also very interesting for me.  Every watercolor painter knows this.  How can one control the effect of  running paint? Pollock built his life’s work on around this, as well as O’keefee and Paul Jenkins.  This is exactly what I mean when I say I’m a painter.  It’s not about the Magnolias.

V.G: Sometimes, the details in your paintings look like a zoom into the world from Google Earth.  Is there a connection or inspiration there for you?

Yes and no.  I understand what you mean but it isn’t Google Earth.  When I fly, and I’ve flown often since I was 16, I see the world as a pattern – the higher I fly, the more formal the pattern.  I think, the clouds, colors and light are things one could never come up with.  I get a lot of energy from these things.  Turner becomes suddenly so clear and logical.  He just wanted to paint what he saw and for that he invented unbelievable possibilities.  His ocean and sky, they simply aren’t representational.  When you fly really high, then you might also understand this feeling.

VG: Do you mean you fly the plane?

In Canada, this isn’t so uncommon.  My father was a water-polo player, however, there was nothing for me in Regina to inherit.  So, at some point, I began flying.  I like it a lot and if it doesn’t work out with paining, I can always go back to flying to make some money.

V.G: Do you live in Miami or Munich?

I have, of course, personal connections to both cities, but the point is, at the moment, I don’t want to stay in one place.  Germany is the home of my parents, I speak the language and I like Munich.  Berlin would be another alternative, we’ll see.  And Miami is much more interesting than Regina, Saskatchewan, even when I was really happy there.  Although, I was always freezing.

V.G: You’re having your first exhibition in Stuttgart at a fairly new gallery, how did this happen?

A complete coincidence.  A friend of mine showed photos of my work to an Art Miami Basel visitor and he passed them on to Mario Strzelski.   Mario then invited me to show my work in his gallery.  How things just happen.  My first exhibition… WOW!