Swiss born painter Gabriele Herzog's forms are an extension of her; her thoughts, her moods, her ‘matter’ - mutating, evolving, transferring, transmuting; within the canvas, and from work to work – to form a series that has no start, nor a finish. Herzog’s exploration of her universe is defined by her spontaneity of expression – in its purest form – by her brush-stoke. Rather than exploring abstraction and the relationship between colour and form, Herzog is interested in expressing herself intuitively. Thus her compositions become representations of the artist herself, and her own human emotions.
What inspired you to be an artist? I was drawn to it. At first through my family, an artist family friend, my friends, teachers, books, films, museums and then being fortunate enough to enter art school at the age of 16.
Which artists do you admire? There are invariably just one or two artists I look at closer during one given time - at the moment Günther Förg. His work is so light and playful with a valid sense of being pushed right up to the edge above which the work would become banal/insignificant - this particular tightrope walk I am consistently drawn to (in art). There are a staple of artists I have admired for a very very long time and I frequently find back to them, making me hold my breath: Piero della Francesca, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, Helen Frankenthaler, Richard Serra and more recently Katharina Grosse.
What is your personal definition of success? What would you like to achieve with your art? Success for myself is foremost, I am able to do it - I have a studio to work in and the time to paint. Ideally I would like to realise a dialogue between my work and the world outside the studio. Having exhibitions, meeting other artists, curators, collectors, you (!)... just like answering these questions, being encouraged to consider my work from the outside [-world] in.
Do you consider yourself as having already succeeded? Lately so much has happened with my work in terms of developing my language, being able to work more and given unexpected, amazing support, showing my paintings in numerous exhibitions all over Europe and the US as well as selling work.
You studied at art school in both Switzerland and the UK. How has studying at art school contributed to your success and do you think studying internationally has given you opportunity? Going to art school in Switzerland and the UK was fantastic, different and very positive. It gave me the important primary support and freedom, from two different angles, to become an artist. In addition, London also taught me a new language - english.
Why the UK? When I was 21 (and had just finished my studies in Switzerland) London seemed so exciting, inspiring and just huge in comparison to Basel. I was looking for an adventure and moved to London (to study at art school) when I was 22.
Is the UK art scene different to that of Switzerland? I don’t know, this is difficult for me to answer but I think each country has its own set of cultural history that still shapes (a little) its art scene today.
You grew up and studied in Basel, what is the art scene like in Basel? Basel offers a vast number of qualitative great museums and galleries. While I was there, I particularly remember visiting often the Gegenwarts Museum, the Kunsthalle Basel and of course Art Basel, introducing me very early on to contemporary art which has influenced and stayed with me. I do think Basel is one of the important art centres in Switzerland. I am still in touch with a few artists from my time there but invariably they are not living in Basel anymore either.
Do you have (a) representative gallery/ies? What has that experience done for your career? I have shown in numerous gallery exhibitions (group and solo) in London, Paris, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, France and the US. I am not represented by a gallery, however I have sold work through a gallery and more importantly over the last 2 and a half years I have received an enormous amount of support by Yifat Gat, a great artist and founder of Look&Listen - the independent art gallery/project based in Saint-Chamas, France. Yifat Gat has included me in many of her projects (exhibitions, book and online) as well as inviting me to a two week artist residency in Saint-Chamas. All the above have been an entirely positive, helpful and challenging input for my work and myself.
Can you support yourself with the sales of your work? If not, what do you do to supplement your income? Partially through sales. Otherwise I am an illustrator and have been (over the years) artist assistant to David Tremlett, art-teacher, corporate textile designer, rug designer, costume design assistant for the film ‘Brave Heart’, exhibition invigilator, including commissions for graphic/web-design, translations and wall drawings.
You are incredibly savvy with social media. How has investing time into your social media presence helped your practice? Thank you. Social media has helped me considerably, all the opportunities for my work over the last three years lead back to Facebook and Instagram, meeting so many lovely people along the way. I am finding social media a great platform and tool to connect to the art scene/world. I recently launched my new IG project #sundaystudio88 and it has gotten off to an unexpected exciting start with sales as well as leading me to you!
Do you find that posting on social media, keeping your website and documentation up to date time consuming? I like looking through art related social media but sometimes I catch myself spending too much time on the web, it can be addictive. Whenever that happens I pull myself away from the screen for a while. I am designing, photographing and uploading all my own work-web-content. To begin with it was quite time consuming setting up my webpage. Once in place, it becomes very easy to update.
Are there limitations in being an artist? I think being an artist is one of the professions with the least limitations. I need and like giving myself limitations in my practice.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists? Maybe a quote...