September 23, 2015

9/22/15 – Strong Head, Faina Heart

Artist:  Faina Lerman

Location: Motor City Sports Bar & Grill, Hamtramck


FL – Stoli & tonic (it was lunch, no judgies), cheeseburger (no mayo), split waffle fries

SRS – Diet Pepsi, cheeseburger (no mayo, grilled onions), split waffle fries

The tricky truth about brains: they are always up to stuff, even when we’re not really very focused on them. This can be a problem, when they’re up to destructive things, like denial or addiction or depression, but it can be a great asset when they’re up to productive things like problem solving, or being creative, or workshopping fantasies starring Channing Tatum.

When you are someone like Faina Lerman, striving to maintain a balance between her personal creative practice, engagement in her Hamtramck neighborhood, her developing family with two young children, and her third child with husband Graem Whyte, the still young but rapidly-growing residential art space, Popps Packing–you need to wrangle every bit of function out of your brain. Faina and I sat down over the “best burgers in Hamtramck” to chop it up about art, future collaboration, and the power of doing more than one thing at a time.

For Faina–who is one half of the Tzarinas of the Plane, a performance art duo that received a Visual Arts Kresge Fellowship this year–the hardest priority to maintain has been that of her personal practice. In fact, I had never seen any  of Faina’s work outside of the Tzarinas performances, so this BWTA turned into a fun revelation of some of her drawn and painted works…which I must say, are excellent. I am extremely hopeful that she will (SOMEHOW) make time for them.

Because they are excellent works. They remind me of the ways that kids make art, before we train them out of impulsive expression and get them into being figurative and putting blue lines across the top of the paper to be the sky. In both her drawn and performance works, Faina builds from gesture–and I see in her 2D works a real tension between uncontrolled expressive elements and structure or context applied in retrospect. One part of the brain, spitting out raw data, and the other part trying to put it into a PowerPoint presentation.

I think it was a lot of fun for both of us, taking some time to look at a corner of Faina’s creative existence that she hasn’t had a lot of time to think about lately. But lucky for her, and maybe lucky for all of us, I suspect her brain is still working on these concepts. Maybe we’ll see some of these ideas surface again, now that the box is open.

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