"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
From "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 2 (2003)
Patiently working at her easel, Vija Celmins dabs tiny speaks of paint on a canvas. The object of her attention is a starry night sky, an image that she has been painstakingly creating by applying paint, rethinking, sanding it off, and adding more. “This is all part of the work,” she says, “in fact, I often now talk about building a painting.” A prolific artist with a long career, Celmins has created sculptures, paintings, drawings and prints that find a timeless authenticity in natural forms from stones to waves and spider webs. “It’s like something unconsciously seeps into the work,” Celmins explains, discussing her attitude to the labor-intensive process she is well known for.