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A Portrait of the Artist: Anne Cherubim

Anne Cherubim recycles old artworks into digital paintings.

Born in Montreal and of Sri Lankan descent, Anne Cherubim recycles her own artwork. She creates fascinating 3-dimensional spaces out of sections of old paintings, drawings and monotype prints. The outcome is unrecognizable as a piece of the original. It opens up a whole new world of extruded geometry.

Zooming in on a small section of a digitized piece of artwork she has created in the past, Cherubim breaks up the sample into pixels, which she then extrudes at different angles in Photoshop.

Short of revealing her entire working process, she says that the work can be both addictive and "something you can get lost in."

Regardless of the motivation behind its making, Cherubim's Recycled Art Project, recently on exhibit at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, is a sight to behold.

Subtle color shifts and neutral tones explode into perspectival spaces, from a distance, reminiscent of JMW Turner's turbulent seascapes. Color schemes in the Recycled Art Project are in part determined by the original sampled artwork that Cherubim chose to focus on, but the artist does not hold to any steadfast rules of production. Sometimes, a closer look at one of her Recycled Art Project pieces reveals an added layer of linework or a new color overlay executed in Photoshop.

"I do all my work on my PC," said Cherubim who is patient, talented and has a tremendous creative vision.

Before starting the Recycled Art Project she was working on a series of landscape paintings. In her home studio, which is conveniently located next to her kitchen, she has a rack of Recycled Art Project, as well landscape paintings. A few small pieces on canvas board are demonstration paintings, she has completed as part of a workshop series for Michaels stores in the Gaithersburg area. They feature woods in purple  hues and are well-rendered for quick demonstration paintings. The rest of her landscapes are large-scale acrylic paintings that are primarily abstract.

"At an art festival I was in a few years back, where I displayed my landscapes, people would walk into the booth, and some would say things like 'Wow. They’re so zen. They’re so calming.'  Someone beside them would say, “No, I see a lot of motion.” I enjoy the contradictions that they are," said Cherubim. "I see them as energy."

Compositionally, the landscapes are vastly different than the Recycled Art Project in that they do not have a perspectival vanishing point and read more horizontally and less centrifugally. Both the landscapes and the Recycled Art Project have a certain smokey airy lightness about them.

"Since my kids were born, I only paint in acrylic," said Cherubim who is equally invested in her children's upbringing as in her art creation. She moved to Gaithersburg with her husband in 2003 and has devoted herself to painting full time ever since. Self-taught, Cherubim began painting because she did not have a job that she would be giving up in order to pursue her passion. She was familiar with the starving artist scenario, but decided to take advantage of what she came to see as good timing to delve into painting.

"I would consider the Recycled Art Project digital painting," she said. "People usually come up to me and wonder how I did it. They want to know how long it takes."

The level of abstraction she attains in her recent work is about letting go of preconceptions and delving into an unknown territory. Cherubim is pushing the limits of her medium in the Recycled Art Project.

Besides teaching painting at the Kentlands, Rockville and Germantown Michaels arts and crafts supply stores, Cherubim is a member of the Art League of Germantown, the Rockville Art League and the Gaithersburg Fine Arts Association.

Upcoming shows include:

Making HerStory 6, at The Center for Green Urbanism, D.C., March 4-31

LAG open show at the Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel, March 5-27

ALOG's Shades of Spring Show at Blackrock Center for The Arts, Germantown, April 1-3

GFAA Spring Juried Members' Show, Kentlands Mansion, Gaithersburg, April 1- May 30

Rockville Art League's Spring Show, at Glenview Mansion, Rockville, May 2011


To find out more about the artist, click here.

To visit the artist's Etsy store, click here.

Natalya B. Parris February 21, 2011 at 06:32 AM
Nice article. Congratulations Anne.
Anne Cherubim February 21, 2011 at 06:24 PM
thank you, Natalya!

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