Inside the Studio

Candace Primack

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

The major themes that I pursue in my work are color and tension.  I am fascinated by the way various colors can evoke entirely different emotions, so much so that numerous studies have been done on the power of color and its ability to influence people. From hospitals to hospitality, art advisors are now considering the effect that color has on a public space.  I am also interested in tension as it relates to line, form and color. From a young age, I was drawn to that which was both slightly severe but also quite feminine, simultaneously.  Working in two different styles allows me plenty of space to explore these concepts in a variety of ways. I can work in a pastel palette, but ground and balance the piece with black, or I can work in monochromatic tones and really limit the palette so that it is the simplicity of the art that serves as the focal point of the piece.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

In my early thirties, several years before I began painting, I met a woman who became a sort of mentor to me.  She was quite an accomplished painter as well as a very wise lady.  She died of breast cancer at age 52, less than four years after we met.  Upon attending an opening exhibition of her work in the last year of her life, she asked me if I had ever considered painting.  I told her I had, but lacked the self-confidence necessary to risk people seeing my work.  She emphasized to me the importance of process, and at times, even struggle, stating that the artist’s job was not to create with the end result in mind, but rather to create because it is necessary in order to have one’s soul fed.  This is a concept that I bring to the studio everyday.  I can easily hit a roadblock if I am constantly overthinking my work.

Do you work in silence or with music?

I work both in silence and with music.  It very much depends on what is happening in my life.  If I am feeling overly busy and/or scattered in my personal life, I tend to work in silence in the studio.  If things are going smoothly, I will choose music to suit my mood for the day.  I do love Pandora and often set it to “Train” or “John Mayer”. I will also sometimes work to classical music if I feel the painting needs a lyrical influence.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

That is such a hard and difficult question for an artist, as our influences are often drawn from so many places.  I love Rothko, Twombly, Frankenthauler, de Kooning, and Ritcher, among many others. Two paintings the do move me are Rothko’s  “White Center” and Twombly’s “The Rose”

Who are your favorite writers?

Two of my favorite writers are Wallace Stegner and C.S. Lewis.


About the Author

Katherine Henning is Senior Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service here.