Q&A with Aubrey Learner

March 17, 2012
Suckers-Detail Aubrey Learner's solo show 'Circadian' opens tonight at Eli Ridgeway Gallery in San Francisco. We sat down with Learner to do a little Q&A about her upcoming show, tendencies and collections. Learner's new works develop these concepts with a playful examination of things short lived. From the brief life cycles of butterflies, to the fleeting pleasure of indulging in a piece of candy, Learner's detailed illustrations suggest a simultaneous humor and melancholy to the old adage, "all good things must come to an end."

So, are you ready for your upcoming show, Circadian at Eli Ridgway? How many new pieces will you have created for it??

Yes, very ready! I just finished up the 14th piece.


Would you consider this your first major solo show?

Yes, definitely.


Tell me about the process for putting work together for the show, were you trying to focus on a new theme or direction or maintain something similar to your previous work?

The pieces are similar in structure and content to what I have done in the past, but I let myself experiment with elements like color and texture. I like to let ideas come intuitively for each piece, rather than following a pre-conceived theme. Overall, though, they are part of a larger body of work.

You, like myself, seem attracted to this combination of macabre imagery while keeping somewhat of a feminine charm to your work. How would you describe it to someone who has never seen it before?

I would describe my work as collage-like arrangements of drawings of insects or other small animals or objects, heavily influenced by scientific illustration and viewed from the omnipotent voyeur-like dorsal view, and arranged to form feminine shapes or silhouettes. I think of the objects as cells or atoms comprising the larger metaphor. I am really drawn to attractive/repulsive imagery. I try to make something ugly -like a leach- beautiful and vice-versa.


Were you ever into insect collecting to taxidermy as a kid?

No, I was definitely into cuter, fuzzier things as a kid. Plus we lived in the woods so if you wanted to see insects, you just want outside. Although I did get in trouble once for bringing home a praying mantis egg sac and letting it (them) hatch in the garage.


Do you currently have any collections?

Art books and the odd flea market tchotchke, and apparently parking tickets.


Thanks Aubrey!



The show runs from March 17th to April 14th. The opening is on Saturday March 17th  4-7pm.