"My work seeks to resolve my personal conflict between pervasive Western thoughts about the obsession with being somebody and the Eastern conceptions of being nobody. I am aware that this conflict can not ever be resolved or settled down, but could only fuel new work."

 

"Painting is a technique and practice which I use to lift mine and other people’s souls and awaken people’s spirit. Painting as an object of communication can touch you on many different levels - emotional, political, spiritual, psychical. It is a universal language! " 

 

"My painting practice is at the same time an escape from the world and a way to know more about the world and my place in it. For me, painting and drawing are private acts of introspection, leading to self-knowledge and spiritual transformation. 

It is simultaneously a search for fulfillment and for emptiness."

 

"I most enjoy working on a small, intimate scale. Paper size between 8” and 18” best suits my needs because it allows me, as an artist and later as a viewer, to come close and experience intimacy and subtle emotions. Wanting to keep a distraction at a minimum, I often use very simple mediums, like graphite, pastels, ink, and sometimes candle wax. Each of my works begins with accidental marks to which I respond to make a satisfying composition. Paper gives me the opportunity to clean my mind and slow down. This relief leads to a state of holistic being. I use my visual sense, hand movement — pressure and touch — to push my senses inward. 

Brush, pencil, and rug are simple tools which gave me complex experience. I find it miraculous. All this excitement motivates me to create over and over again. 

Besides working on paper, I like the texture and the messy process of painting with oils on canvas. I often use strong, violent hand movements and rugs to introduce uncertainty into my process. Applying many layers of oil paint and concentrating on its scent, thickness, and fluidity, I am able to unlock deeper sensations and memories."

 

"Painting process opens for me the complex space where I bring all the things I have forgotten but I experience the present moment at the same time. This is true during work and later when I observe my paintings in the gallery setting. 

To experience artwork one has to let instinct guide him or her, rather than intellect."

...

 

Interview, Cambridge Art Association, MEMBER SPOTLIGHT, September 2018

 

Q: What are your earliest memories of being artistic? 

A: At the age of 13-14 I was setting up an improvised theater with my cousins and friends.

 

Q: When did art become a pursuit? 

A: In winter 2015. I had my art studio space for the first time at Joy Street Studios in Somerville.

 

Q: Are you self-taught or formally educated in visual art? 

A: I don’t have an art diploma, but I do go to different lectures to learn from other people.

 

Q: How did you first become involved with CAA? 

A: I saw CAA member.National Prize Show in May 2016 and soon I became

 

Q: In what other ways are you involved in the local art community? 

A: I am an artist at Bromfield Gallery and member of SoWa Artist Guild.

 

Q: What role do you think the artist plays in society? 

A: Artists add to the society their unique perspective which makes every community more rich. They connect many different things, making their perspective more open than those of engineers, doctors, scientists, priests or politicians. For this reason, the artist is the most important individual in the society.

 

Q: What medium do you currently work in and how did you choose this medium? 

A: I work in oil on canvas and do a lot of experimental work on paper.


Q: What is your creative process? Where are you finding ideas for your art these days? 

A; painting process I am drawn to uncertainty. This often includes destroying many layers of paint before I decide to keep some of them. The most of my inspiration comes from personal experience of the world. I am fascinated with the mystical landscape and rich history of the Balkans where I grew up. During

 

Q: How do you choose your subject matter? Is there a reoccurring theme that carries throughout your work? 

A: I always return back to painting landscapes. Some architectural elements appear in them often, like bridges and arches. They are similar but more reduced than those found on the prominent landmarks of my native Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Q: In your opinion, what’s your best/favorite piece you’ve made? 

A: I am fascinated by some of my early works from 2012. I didn’t know what I was doing back then, but they look very mature. I like this early work because I wasn’t formally educated in the arts. It was a very naive approach, honest and completely mine. I won’t be able to have that kind of approach again. Whenever I see new work of other artists I am drawn to, I see how that influence my work.

 

Q: What is one of your artistic goals for 2018? 

A: To finish series of oil paintings of the mystical landscapes for my November solo show in Bromfield Gallery.

 

Q: What’s your favorite place to see art? 

A: Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MET museum in NY.

 

Q: What living artists are you inspired by? 

A: I am inspired by painters Natalija Cimesa, Maya Kulenovic, Anselm Kiefer and by conceptual artist Wolfgang Laib.

 

Q: Do you own any art by other artists? 

A: I own two paintings of Natalija Cimesa.

 

Q: Do you have any shows coming up? 

A: During August my work is on view in the solo show ‘Sve Zaboravljene Stvari’ in Gallery JAVA in Sarajevo. For November I am preparing my solo show ‘All things I have forgotten’ in Bromefield Gallery. I am participating in two group how in September: ’DOUBLE VISION” in Bromfield Gallery and Continuing Education (CE) Student Show at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

...

 

Tekst povodom otvaranja izložbe u Galeriji JAVA 2.8.2018., Sarajevo, BiH

Mirela Kulović je rođena 11.3.1986. godine u Tuzli. Najveći dio svog života provela je u Splitu, gdje je završila studij Industrijskog inženjerstva na Fakultetu Elektrotehnike, Strojarstva i Brodogradnje (FESB), kao najbolja studentica u svojoj generaciji.

Kist u ruke prvi put je uzela 2011. godine i ubrzo nakon toga potpuno se posvetila slikarstvu.

Danas se profesionalno bavi slikarstvom u Bostonu, gdje živi i radi.

Njen rad odlikuje šetnja između bogatih nanosa uljne boje na platnu i minimalnog izričaja na papiru.

Serija radova „Sve zaboravljene stvari“ odraz su ideje da se sa što manje materijala i boja stvori likovnost na papiru. U ovom nastojanju, Mirela slika intuitivno, apstrahuje osnovne likovne elemente, istražuje načine nastajanja linije i postavlja ih u prostor papira u kojem se kreću i žive. Neke linije pretvara u amorfne i apstraktne oblike koji ostavljaju dojam kao da smo ih već negdje vidjeli. Inspiraciju često crpi iz mističnih pejzaža i bogate historije balkanskih krajeva. 

Po riječima autorice:

“U ovoj seriji radova, gdje prevladavaju radovi na papiru, vodila sam se namjerom da koristim što je moguće manje materijala i boja. Ovo je bio spontani rezultat moje potrebe da stvaram gdje god idem. Nove načine držanja olovke i nove linije otkrila sam u jednom trenutku kad sam sa sobom imala samo malu olovku i nekoliko listova papira. Zapitala sam se: na koji novi način mogu napraviti liniju?!

Je li ta nova linija rezultat različitog pritiska ili držanja olovke?! Sve ovo me zabavljalo i vodilo u nove neistražene prostore. Papir je u tim trenutcima rada postao prostraniji od sobe u kojoj se nalazim. Oblici koji su se pojavljivali bili su abstraktni, ali kao da su mi već poznati. Sjećanje i nostalgija stapali su se sa iskustvom sadašnjeg trenutka. Tada smo slika, proces i ja postali jedno.“ 

Mirela je do sada realizovala četiri samostalne izložbe u Bostonu, te sudjelovala na više od  trideset grupnih izložbi. Trenutno radi kao voditeljica projekta Art Centar Gračanica, koji za cilj ima osnivanje umjetničkog centra sa galerijskim prostorom i umjetničkom bibliotekom u gradu Gračanici.   

Ovo je njena prva izložba u Bosni i Hercegovini.

 

...

(Inter)National: Dual Identities, May 2018

A Fort Point Arts Community Exhibition at the Gallery at Atlantic Wharf 

290 Congress Street, Boston, Massachusetts

 

1. Do you find yourself working to reconcile your multiple identities? How so?

 

As much as I work on trying to reconcile my multiple identities, this can't be settled. Influences from other cultures are always penetrating into my everyday life. It is hard to consume just one culture. Even if I theoretically try to do that by looking at the works of artists from my native culture, there is a possibility that they were influenced by other distant cultures. When we try to see a bigger picture, we see that our way of thinking is not always ours. We borrow many things from our surroundings and the people we interact with. 

 

2. What do you gain when you occupy space in multiple cultures? What do you lose?

 

I gained a bigger picture of the world, but also an understanding that people are the same. There is some differentness but there are only on the surface. All people need food, protection, safety, and love. Those needs are translated into art and cultures in many different ways, and that is a beauty of the different cultures.

 

 3. Are you the same person if you had not moved/had only one cultural identity?

 

I gain more knowledge which gives me more ideas. I have a  feeling of being very rich in the sense that I have my own culture and national identity, but I can easily connect to the beauty of other cultures. You have to have a healthy pride of your culture at first and then you can admire other cultures. 

 

4. How do you view yourself in relation to the culture of your parents/closest relatives?

 

I feel connected to my parents' culture. I am more involved in the Bosnian or Croatian culture then all my relatives who live in my home countries. This depends on a person’s own appreciation and interests. 

 

5. Is living in two cultures confusing? Clarifying?

 

Sometimes when I read about far distant cultures or look at the pictures of tombs in Delhi I feel more connected to it than to western culture. There is a confusion if I try to explain this to myself logically. But, if you don’t put too much thinking into it there is no confusion, just a feeling of belonging and feeling of love.

 

6. How does living in an immigrant community (or outside of it) affect your sense of self?

 

Living in an immigrant community affects me on many different levels. It affects my way of thinking and behaving. But there is something deep in myself that is pure. It is the state of being. I find it when I practice Ashtanga yoga, paint in my studio, or when I am surrounded by nature. Once I am connected with this inner self, all those external things like identity are less important and they fade. They stay on the surface and I can reach it whenever I want to, but it doesn’t cause me any problems.

 

...

 

Statement for the solo show "Fragments" at Brookline Arts Center, 2018

"In this body of work, I used a minimal amount of materials and colors. Every line, smudge, and mark are carefully examined. Each one of them is important and has its place on a surface. Starting with uncertainty by accident, I gave myself enough time to warm up and became sensitive to every mark I make. This work makes me open, vulnerable and humble. The result is something familiar but not recognizable.

This work required concentration, sensibility, presence and careful observation. As much as I find process rewarding, the result has importance too. Every time I am surprised by how much is expressed with so little. Using oil pastels, colored pencils and graphite, my work exposes two worlds coming together: one harmonious, the other chaotic.

I hope the viewer will be able to carefully observe these drawings. The reward could be the same experience I had while I was creating this work."

 

...

 

Statement for the solo show "Lands" at Brookline Library, 2017/18

“In this body of work, I went into the unconscious as deeply as possible. Applying many layers of oil paint, I lost myself in the process. Having concentrated on its smell, thickness, fluidity rather than my ideas and compositions, I was able to unlock deeper sensations and memories. As the process of painting unfolded, it resulted in mysterious, fragmented landscapes with portals, arches, and bridges."

...

 

Statement for the solo show "Fragments" at Bromfield Gallery, 2017

Being born in Bosnia in the late 1980s, and growing up in the Balkans in the early 1990s was challenging. The area wasn't the best place for an innocent child. On the one hand, there was the beauty of nature and freedom; on the other hand, there was political conflict and fear. These two opposing worlds had a big influence on me. I grew up very fast. From an early age, I was concerned with questions about human destiny. 

I discovered painting after getting my Master's degree in industrial engineering, and soon realized the importance of art. I started painting almost every day and abandoned my engineering career. Painting became the most important thing in my life and a tool for spiritual transformation and self-knowledge. 
Drawing is my primary artistic language, and I do it every day. I see it as a tool for penetration into a deeply spiritual experience. 
When I finish a drawing, it is more like I have discovered it. It's mysterious manifestation always surprises me. 

At the beginning of 2016, I started drawing delicate, meditative, abstract objects with few marks and lines. I worked on each one for hours, observing each step I took and letting the process unfold. Each mark and line were important.

But that lasted for only a few months. I wanted to explore more possibilities with the same motive, but it didn't work. Chaotic and aggressive marks suddenly appeared unpredictably all over my paper. I couldn't control them. I let them appear and be observed.

These marks bothered me, and I felt the need to erase them. After I did some erasing, a few marks were still dominant. Attracted to some of them, I made them more visible. Each step of adding and erasing made my painting more settled. I was looking for compositions that were visually and intuitively right for me. When I felt like I didn’t want to add anything to a painting, it was done. In most of my paintings, I saw two worlds coming together. One was harmonious, the other one was chaotic, but both were non-representational. 
"Fragments" soon turned out to be the best title for this work.

 

...

 

Interview, Cambridge Art Association, Artist of the week, March 2017

 

Q: What are your earliest memories of being artistic?

A: When I was a child in Bosnia, every year on New Year's Day, my cousins, my sister, and I would set up an improvised theater for fun. We would make up characters and put on a play.  I also wrote short stories in elementary school.

 

In high school, I was involved with the Bosnian Cultural Center of Croatia. I had the main female role in one of their plays. A painting was something I discovered much later. I always admired painters and thought that only special people could have that skill.

 

Q: When did art become a pursuit?

A: At the end of 2015, I decided to take a risk and rent an art studio for a year. At the time, I was still looking for a job in mechanical engineering. But I need to say, that when I discovered painting for the first time after finishing my studies in engineering, I knew that painting was something I would pursue. I just didn`t know when. Things came faster than I expected.

 

Q: Are you self-taught or formally educated in visual art?

A: I learned a lot of things by myself. I took studio classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and MassArt. I learn from everything. I spend a lot of time in libraries, museums, and galleries. I also go to artist talks. If you have free time, there are many free or affordable lectures around.

 

I did some art critiques with Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz of the SMFA. She is a very talented professor with an individual approach. She showed me the work of many artists that she felt would be important for my growth. I am very grateful that she showed me the art of Anselm Kiefer, Giorgio Morandi, and Christopher Wilmarth.

 

Q: How did you first become involved with CAA?

A: In May of 2016, I saw the National Prize Show. After I saw all program, I decided to become part of CAA.

 

Q: In what other ways are you involved in the local art community?

A: I have been accepted into the Copley Society of Art.

I go to shows to see other people's art, whenever I feel like I need to take a break from my own work.

 

Q: What medium do you currently work in and how did you choose this medium?

A: I mostly work on paper, and I use oil pastels, pencils, watercolors, ink, and rugs. Many of my works on paper start with smudges and spontaneous pencil marks. Paper gives me the opportunity to work by impulse. I also like working with oils on canvas. It takes time, and using brushes gives me a special feeling.

 

Q: What is your creative process?

A: I like to work in the morning. I start with uncertainty, by accident. I give myself time to warm up on paper with different kinds of marks. When I feel that a sheet of paper is full, I start another one and another one after that. I draw until I feel tired. Usually, I work on several pieces at the same time. I like to review my old things and see if I can find something good, or add something to finish them.

 

Q: How do you choose your subject matter? Is there a reoccurring theme that carries throughout your work?

A: I work and see what will happen. After a while, I start to analyze why I do what I do. My goal is to transform pain, anxiety, and containment into a spiritual experience. I work until that happens. The main theme is why I was born and what I live for, my personal experience of the world. There are other subjects that interest me a lot, like death and suffering. For me, art is the best way to discover the world you live in and yourself. It contains many different meanings.

 

Q: In your opinion, what’s your best/favorite piece you’ve made?

A: It is a small drawing, which is on the opening page of my website. It is almost nothing, but it is something meaningful. It is hard to say why I am drawn to it.

 

Q: What is one of your artistic goals for 2017?

A: I would like to meet more artists. I am planning to start a small artist-run gallery/place in the town of Gracanica, Bosnia, with a few other artists.

Another goal is to learn more about music.  Playing a musical instrument is still a mystery to me. I would also like to learn classical painting techniques. Lately, I have become interested in glazing and working with layers of thin paint.

 

Q: What living artists are you inspired by? 

A: The German conceptual artist, Wolfgang Laib, and his ‘Milkstone’, just blew my mind. I spend a lot of time thinking about his work. I would like to meet him one day.

Bozo is a Bosnian sevdah singer. I feel inspired by his voice and listen to him often. He has the courage to totally be himself.Vreco,

I would like to see paintings by the Canadian artist, Maya Kulenovic. I have recently seen her work on the web.

There are many others, whose work inspires me. I do a lot of research on living artists.

 

Q: Do you own any art by other artists?

A: I own a small sculpture made by my friend. She made it especially for me.

 

Q: Do you have any shows coming up?

A: My first solo show, ‘Fragments’, took place at the Bromfield Gallery this February. It's a presentation of what I have been working on for the last two years. During March my work can be seen in three juried shows: Copley Society of Art: ”Shaken and Stirred”, Cambridge Art Association: “Members Prize Show” and Gallery263: “Iteration”.

 

...

 

 

"Osmjehnuo se: osmijeh i sumoran i radostan spoznavši pobjedu prvi put u životu, sam, bez pohvale i na kraju svijeta."

                                                                                                   Nepoznati  autor  

 

 

 

©Mirela Kulović 2019 
 
 
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