VCS faculty member Kara Rooney was recently interviewed for an article by Caitlin Dover in the Fall 2017 issue of Visual Arts Journal that was just republished on the SVA Features site. The article features interviews with several artists about their use of journals and sketchbooks in their studio practices. Here’s an excerpt with a few of Kara’s comments.
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Kara Rooney also brings layering and collage into her sketches, energetic sweeps of black on white, often woven through with snippets of her own photography. Rooney makes these pieces in series of four or five, standing up at a table and working with inks, graphite and water-based washes on heavy white paper. She calls such works “warm-ups,” a name that brings to mind her time as a dancer, though she says they really stem from her training as a painter. “Particularly when I’m between projects, or when I’m beginning a body of work, they’re a way for me to get into gestural mindset of the sculptural forms,” she says. “Even though I work with a lot of theory, this particular physicality has to be there first.” In a manner similar to Ockenfels, Rooney’s sketches bring together different strands of her practice. For a series of works that she calls “Reverbs,” she photographs her sculptures, manipulates them in Photoshop and then incorporates them in three-dimensional pieces. Printed-out test images that that didn’t make it into the finished works later have their use in the warm-ups.
Rooney also keeps notebooks, mostly devoted to writing, and they are sprinkled with imagery. “They’re more like idea journals,” she says, explaining that on any given day she might be writing “something that could become an artist’s statement” or recording “an experience that would go into the work.”