Studio Shots: Viviane Le Courtois, RedLine

Categories: Art

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Diminutive and soft-spoken, with black owl-eye glasses and long, wavy dark hair, Viviane Le Courtois is one of those "still waters run deep" types, whose mind, you just know, is working overtime, all the time. Viviane is a thinker and an observer: There's a bit of a scientist in this artist, whose work often deals with how wasteful we are and what we leave behind. Fruit parings, shredded junk mail, worn shoes, dried mushrooms, junk food and holey socks -- these are just of few of the unusual mediums with which she works.


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I visited with Viviane at RedLine, where she is a resident artist and keeps a studio that in some ways resembles both an informal museum and an alchemist's laboratory. The shelves, walls and floor are lined with past, present and morphing works, some of which are continuing experiments, from the dark kombucha mushrooms she keeps floating in a solution of tea and sugar to, conversely, the prints she makes from the residue left behind after peeling one of the dried mushrooms off an etching plate.
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Mushroom etching, Viviane Le Courtois

On the large work table, a flock of iron sheep graze; over in a corner lie bricks fashioned from shredded junk mail. Though she told me by e-mail that she was not really working on anything new that was visible, that's not really the case. Viviane is clearly always working on something, whether she's preparing wax sheep molds for an eventual iron pour (she'd like to increase the flock to 100 for an installation in the works), building sculptures from marshmallows, creating a troop of fat children from hard candy or twisting old socks into "fossils."

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