Margaret Neill is our newest Featured Artist from the BRIC Registry. Neill works with shape, form, line and color in several different media to create abstract works that draw attention to the fluidity of time. Her works are process-oriented and carry references to aspects of nature such as weather and the color of earth, sea, and sky.
Give us a little background on your artistic practice and how it started and developed? I am an artist whose passion for art has directed my life for as long as I can remember. I was born in a small town in Ohio where to get anywhere meant spending a lot of time in a car. As a child, travelling the many miles through a mostly flat mid-western landscape I would press my cheek against the window and watch the landscape go by in a blur against the continual ribbon of asphalt. I believe this is where my interest in perceptual shift and its unfolding forms came from. That along with the aerodynamics of car design.
I came to NYC as soon as I graduated from Hiram College, where I could continue my education at all the museums and galleries, and develop as an artist. I became aware that my work as an artist offered me the most honest way of communicating all that I could be, more than any other role or position I inhabited, especially as a woman where my role was often times limited. I felt that this work, enabled me to use all my brain power and move toward my depths and find them. I knew early on this was a lifelong process of learning and growth and that even though what I did for a living might change, that being a painter would always stay with me.
How did you come to join the BRIC Artist Registry Having lived and made my way as a painter in Brooklyn, I was aware of all the programs taking place at BRIC over the years as well as also having been affiliated with other not for profit Brooklyn organizations who are supportive of artists at all the stages of their careers. When an artist friend suggested I register on the BRIC Artist Registry, I had no hesitation.
What do the abstract forms you use in your work mean to you? My work is embedded in my experience, which is sublimated and appears through the process of painting and drawing. I just let the forms arrive. It's a metaphysical exploration of real time space in response to velocity, momentum, and movement through deeply layered intersecting geometries. I am inspired by analogies to nature as well as weather, music, and sound waves. I invite the viewer to contemplate presence in the fluidity of time.
How did you cross over in terms of media? Which came first? Can you see your work translating further into different media? Drawing is the basis of all my work. I came to know who I was as an artist by drawing in black and white. Later I moved into color. And I switch back and forth from painting to drawing. Drawing is a river with deep reserves of knowledge where I always refresh my work. My work is deeply responsive to whatever medium is used. For example, an invitation to make prints at the Everglade Press changed the way I think about my work. Moving the painted plate under the tremendous pressure of the press instilled in me an interest in imbedding mark making into the surface of the picture plane. There are many examples of this and it keeps happening. I didn't used to always have a camera in my pocket where ever I went. And this has changed how I relate to experience. Behind a picture plane now as well as in front of one.
Do you have any tips for other artists? The most important thing is to take the time to find your vision and stay curious. Your future will unfurl as a result.
How long have you been in Brooklyn and how has it impacted your career? When I came to Brooklyn it didn't seem like the place to be. Most people were trying to get out of Brooklyn. There were vast empty places to explore. There were real working class neighborhoods that were urban, raw, and beautiful. You could hear yourself think. I, among others, found places to work and thrive and meet other artists. Brooklyn allowed me the peace and quiet and time to make my way as an artist.