Featured Artist Q&A:
An Abstract Appeal
Sacramento365 wraps up 2014 with painter and multimedia artist Cherie Hacker. With each abstraction, Cherie breaks down imagery into microscopic landscapes, discovering the hidden shapes, patterns, textures, and lines found within and outside ourselves. Though appearing complex, the message of her works is surprisingly simple: Always question and examine the mark you’ll leave here in this world.
Discover what fuels the passionate artist below:
1. Although it may be a challenge, describe your art in three words.
Explore. Soul. Freedom.
2. What or who are your artistic influences and why?
As a teen in Chicago, Dali Surrealism, and Picasso’s sculpture in the Civic Center, opened windows to see realism juxtaposed to what is created from within an artist. Later, Cubist Juan Gris who showed me color exchanges and texture, along with Louise Nevelson for tactile compositions in 3-D. While on the East Coast, I was drawn to Abstract Expressionism and that looser brushwork was encouraged by my Graduate Directors. As an Intern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, I digested our painting heritage and further studied work by Charles Burchfield and Arthur Dove leaning toward an abstract view. Over time, I have studied indigenous cultures of which some viewers have pointed out symbolic imagery in my work; and if so, I believe it unconscious and internalized from my experiences.
Playful colors and rich, layered textures are a trademark of Cherie’s abstract paintings.
3. Your art has been in group shows internationally and you’ve recently announced that your artwork will be on display at the Ardigillan Castle in Ireland next year! How did this future exhibit come to be?
I spent a couple of months in Ireland last summer with Jeffrey DeVore. We painted as we explored the country and were impressed with how art is acknowledged on all levels in the villages – even castles host art exhibits. We approached the manager of Ardgillan Castle to exhibit our work. After a meeting, she chose my abstracts for the entire upstairs galleries of the castle, and DeVore for the lower section. I’m honored to be a solo artist in these galleries because they usually display several artists at one time.
4. What is it like being a professional artist in Sacramento? What are the benefits and challenges?
Sacramento has a strong community of diverse artists who are assets in making this a desirable city to live in. There is always an art show or event going on. I’m pleased to have a lot of art friends here and an extensive network. The challenge is that “abstraction” is not the buyer’s market in Sacramento and that I have to travel to sell my work.
5. Along with your paintings, in 2003 you launched your ongoing photo series, the Lamp and End Table Project. What is the inspiration for this project and has it changed throughout the years?
After listening to a research scientist on NPR’s Science Friday, I wanted to create a meaningful twenty year project of my own. The lamp came to me first, and after dreams and sketches of what the project would look like, the end table I searched for appeared. The photo shoots began in the wilds of Alaska with an environmentally conscious slant. Being a multi-media artist, I have painted it, made installations, sculpture, and have produced silkscreen prints on discarded materials with the object as image. The project evolves continually, yet the initial intent remains the same: the project questions our role in the environment with the hope of respect. I continue to photograph it throughout the Northwest, use several cameras and processes, and expect this to go on for as long as I am able.
Her ever-evolving project Lamp and End Table Project combines painting with recycled materials.
6. You studied with artists Wayne Thiebaud and Roy DeForest while you were at UC Davis. Do you have any interesting stories to share from your time with them?
Thiebaud was my professor for both painting and critical theory in 1992-93. We painted dollar bills several times as an exercise, and he favorably chose to address my painting in a hallway critique because of its bold color use.
Also, at the beginning of the quarter, the TA told us those not enrolled in the class needed to leave. After his painting demonstration, someone from the outside stole his demo. He was livid!
7. Currently, you share studio space with 12 other artists in the E Street Studio Complex. Does this collaborative work environment influence your art?
Each of us is a “seasoned” artist with our own vision. I work later studio hours than most, but when several of us are there working at the same time, there’s a good vibe. That vibe permeates through the complex and remains. Looking at work of other area artists is a stimulating perk too.
8. Speaking of the E Street Gallery, you curate an annual regional art show. How does the selection process work for the pieces to feature in a show like that?
We E Streeters choose a month to curate or to have a show of our own each year. I like to bring in artists who others may not be familiar with and draw in new audiences. I typically start with an idea and invite artists who create thoughtful work in that genre to engage the viewer. In 2014 the show “Eco-Art Earth Matters” featured artists who repurpose, recycle, or consider the environment in some way. This January, I am curating a show of drawings, “Back to the Drawing Board,” which feature fifteen regional artists and six primary aged artists along with the Shalom School Early Childhood Students.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t sweat the small stuff, look at the big picture, live life, and pursue your dreams.
10. Outside of making art, what do you like to do for fun?
Play with my two grandkids, go for a hike, spend time with family and friends, travel and explore with my companion, and enjoy the other arts as the audience.
Keep up with Cherie:
Interview by Sacramento365’s Content & Social Media Coordinator, Jamila B. Khan.