Sandra Muss is unlike any one we’ve ever interviewed. As a multi-media installation artist Sandra explores the complex relationship between spatial, temporal and mystical realms of human experience.
Earlier this year Sandra unveiled Nūr, a site-specific sensory installation created in homage to the late great architect Zaha Hadid. Nūr was a collection of three asymmetrical columns, that were eight, nine, and ten feet tall, fashioned out of mirrored steel, with undulating cutouts lit by interior lights.
The sculptures debuted in the Miami Design District’s historic Moore Building beneath Hadid’s Elastika with a special ceremony and performance by the Miami Symphony Orchestra. Muss’ installation design intended the audience to have an immersive experience of art and music coming together.
More recently Muss’ artworks were selected as part of Florence, Italy’s ‘Salone di Donatello’, held in the Basilica of San Lorenzo. The salon featured the series Permutation, an installation of seven nineteenth-century wooden doors illuminated by LED lights.
In our interview with Sandra during Art Basel Miami we had a chance to find out how she creates her pieces and what inspires her work.
TFP: The first question is about your paintings, it feels like there are layers and layers to each. How long does it take to create one piece, do you start painting, stop and then return at a different time? How do you know when one piece is finished?
SM: That is a very hard question. It’s different with each painting. They are multi-layered just as I think we are multi-layered. I usually have 4 or 5 pieces I’m working on at a time. My process is I’m pacing and I’m walking, I’ll go from one to the other. And it just keeps going.
TFP: There is an organic feeling to your artwork, but they are also abstract. The paintings tend to have a natural element. What sort of images do you turn to to inspire your work?
SM: That is what they are based out of. It’s nature, it is totally mother earth, it’s water. A lot of the things I work on are from nature or are inspired from nature, I can go on a hike and find a half a dozen leaves and that gets added to the work.
TFP: Your work feels deeply personal, the colors are very unique and the depth makes your pieces standout from others.
SM: I had a teacher in art school who always talked about two things, the magic of the light and the magic of the color and that has totally stayed with me. And the truth is the light impacts the intensity and the nature of color.
TFP: Do you mix your colors until you get a particular shade or are the colors the result of multiple brushstrokes?
SM: Both, very much both. You layer and layer and layer and so that creates, but a lot of the time I want something very specific, so I’ll mix it up.