Structures of Support: Augsburg

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August 18 – October 3, 2015 
Gage Family Art Gallery & Christensen Center Gallery 


Take the survey here: http://www.wearethethinktank.org/structures-of-support-survey/


Artist statement:
The Think Tank that has yet to be named is a social practice and artistic research studio. We initiate research, conversations, and actions that explore contemporary sociopolitical issues in the places where we encounter them. Whether physical sites, institutional structures, or social systems, we address these contexts as manifestations of models and metaphors that inescapably impact our lives. We draw on our experience with direct action, participatory design, action research, and community organizing to create generative spaces where strategic questions are invitations to others to consider their relationship to the places, structures, and systems which shape our individual and collective experiences of the world.

Bios:
Katie Hargrave is a multi-media artist interested in politics, history, mythology, and narrative. Her work elevates stories from popular culture, those hidden in the archives, and the everyday conversations from passersby and participants. http://katiehargrave.us
Jeremy Beaudry is a founding member of The Think Tank that has yet to be named. He works in and between the fields of socially-engaged art, design, and education, and has lectured and publicly presented projects in national and international venues. He is an Assistant Professor of Design and Director of the Master of Industrial Design Program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. http://meaning.boxwith.com

Meredith Warner is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia and is a founding member of the Think Tank that has yet to be named. With a background in community organizing and strategic nonviolence, her work is focused on community engagement and the design of tools for conversation.

Re[f]use: Transforming the Landscape by Gina Dabrowski

Dabrowski

Photographic work by Gina Dabrowski looks at contemporary landfills as well as re-purposed sites to explore the relationships between people and their belongings. The large-scale prints examine the business of waste disposal through the lens of a 4×5 camera.

Exhibition Statement:

In my landfills project, I use photography to capture the residue of people’s presence, which is preserved in man-made landscapes composed of garbage. I photographed re-purposed landfills using a large format camera and film. The resulting color photographs look at old dump sites located on the boundaries of our daily life, as well as the people who dispose of their personal belongings.

Artist Bio:

Gina Dabrowski is a visual artist who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and teaches at North Hennepin Community College. She received her MFA in Photography and Video from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), as well as a Master of Art in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. Gina has received awards of support from the McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship for Photographers, the Jerome Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. For the McKnight Fellowship, Gina gave a presentation on her Landfills project at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Revisionaries

Revisionaries

The concept for Revisionaries first existed as a digital experiment between three artists in the form of Precarious Worlds, a show for the online gallery platform Gallery Gray, in 2011. In this remix, there is a chance to re-contextualize ideas that were first uncovered in the potential space created in the digital show and a chance to inject new ideas through experimentation and collaboration that can only take place in the physical space offered in the gallery.

Exhibition Statement:

As artists, our artworks share an interest in saturation: a tendency towards decoration through pattern, layers of color, information and fragmentation. Angela Zammarelli uses fabric, cardboard, and herself to make sculptural objects and installations. Melissa Wagner-Lawler uses digitally layered text and pattern to create a visceral, delicate surface on the page that takes the form of artists books and works on paper. While, Tim Abel uses printmaking, papermaking, and sewing to make sculptural paperworks that vary in size from the handheld to large-scale installations.

Artist Bios:

Tim Abel is a paper-based artist and community art educator living in Wisconsin.

Melissa Wagner-Lawler is a printmaker and bookmaker who resides and teaches in Milwaukee, WI.

Angela Zammarelli is an artist living in Massachusetts who creates environments with found materials coming from free piles, trash/recycling, and hand me downs.

All three received their MFAs from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

 

 

All-Student Juried Show 2015 – Results

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1st Place/Best of Show  ($150 from Wet Paint)

Lindsey Galbraith, The Wind, Book arts, 2015

2nd Place/Award of Excellence ($100 from Blick Art Materials)

Glen Gardner, Portrait, Charcoal on paper, 2015

3rd Place/Merit Award ($75 from Blick Art Materials)

Maggie Royce, What is in a Tree, Paper, 2015

Honorable Mention ($50 from Wet Paint)

Beth Oelfke, Prosperity, Watercolor on paper, 2014

Honorable Mention ($50 from Wet Paint)

Guy Nasby, King Pin, B&W photography, 2015

Honorable Mention ($50 from Wet Paint)

Carina Bragg, Serenity: Nirvana, Paper, 2015

People’s Choice Award ($50 from Blick Art Materials)

Stella Richardson, Joyful Holiday, Mixed-media, 2014

 

Q & A with artist Roger Boulay

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First I want to thank the Augsburg Art Department, Jenny Wheatley and her staff for accepting my exhibition application and being very gracious hosts. I also want to thank my family, Harvey, Shirley, Dekker, Charlotte and Brian for their support. A big thank you to Janet Hawkes, Rod Hawkes, Joan Lawrence and Joyce Lawrence, who helped me obtain a good chunk of the books for the piece. Kate Hawkes, my partner, has been wonderfully supportive and inhaled way too many gold paint fumes because of me and is a great accomplice in all things art and in life. – Roger Boulay

Where did the books come from?

The books came almost entirely from library book sales, where I could purchase fifty or sixty books for a few dollars. I also bought a few lots of books off of ebay to obtain specific genres for the piece that I couldn’t find at library book sales.

Have you read these books?

I have read a few of these books previous to making the piece. One hope I have is that viewers will identify certain books they’ve read in the piece and then have a connection to a few of the stories alluded to in the work.

What was the selection process for the books used?

The piece is made entirely of paperback works of fiction. I selected books that had some gold element on the cover, often embossed gold text. A book had to have a gold element on the cover and be fiction to be in the piece. Some books appear more than once.

How did you assemble them?

The covers are glued to each other. I used the backs of many of the covers to attach the piece together. First I made fourteen 3′ x 5′ rectangular panels and then attached those panels together and filled in around them to create the final composition.

What will you do with the text pages of the books?

I am not entirely sure yet, but I have some ideas for a sculpture or to reform the text pages into a recycled paper.

Can you explain the similarities and differences that “All That Glitters” and your previous exhibition titled “Pulp” share with one another?

Both bodies of work use paperback fiction as a starting point. Both projects are about erasure and disappearing. My process for some of the work in “Pulp” is a little different in that I’ve photographed some covers or pages to create larger panels that make shifts in scale or accentuate markings. “All that Glitters” is made exclusively out of actual book covers. Both projects reference building facades. Both works are about deterioration and change.

“All that Glitters” is different in that I’m concentrating on the possible meanings and associations of a particular color (gold) and how it relates to the mash-up of genres and time-periods and stories of the books in the piece.

Why did you organize the books into the shape you did?

On a basic level, I designed the piece for the Christensen Gallery. I didn’t make a piece that was thirty feet tall, because it obviously wouldn’t have worked for the space.

I want the shape of the piece to have different associations. For example, to me it references the periodic table, a fragment of a building facade or a big pile of gold bars.

What is your favorite genre to work with?

I enjoyed working with pulp fiction because the stories are so strange and the covers are really unique.

What kind of recurring themes did you find while working with the covers?

A lot of the titles use cliché in a specific way. There are tropes of particular genres such as the “damsel in distress” on the front of romance novels. By painting around the blonde or “golden hair” on these covers, it becomes more ambiguous as to who is male and female. That particular trope gets put into question.

What are some of your artistic influences?

I was thinking about the work of artists like Annette Messager, El Anatsui, Robert Heinecken, Adrienne Salinger, Patrick Manning and Mark Bradford while I worked on this project, all for different reasons. I also watched and rewatched a lot of Law and Order (the original series) while I worked on the piece.

What would you like the audience to take away from your show?

I hope people have an enjoyable visual experience and make connections to certain titles and text or some of the bits and pieces I didn’t paint gold that are floating through the piece. One of the strengths of this particular gallery is the ease with which the viewer can see things from a distance and also up close. I hope this enriches the experience of the work. I also hope the piece makes people think about value and how we assign value.

What would you like future generations to take away from this artwork if it is rediscovered a century from now?

That is a difficult question. I guess I wonder if print media will have mostly disappeared by then so this piece will speak to a particular moment of transition in our culture. I also hope the piece will describe how we constructed narrative and thought about color in some ways. Hopefully we are still around in a century…

Questions by gallery intern Megan Bartylla.

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Q & A with artist Jeanine Hill

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What is the main focus of inspiration for the pieces included in this exhibition?

I have spent the last two years working on the pieces for this show. In this time I have traveled quite a bit, and the extensive traveling has been an inspiration. But I would have to say that the greatest influence or inspiration for the work is the experience of landscape, the role it plays in our lives, and the way in which place enables us to not only understand who and where we are but also to navigate our world in a more grounded way.

How would you describe your creative process?                                                

I usually work in shifts. Because my studio practice involves a wide variety of materials, I rarely work with multiple materials at the same time. Working this way allows me to deeply focus on the material at hand and the processes required. A year of my artistic life will often involve six to eight months of working in clay, three months of drawing, and perhaps a month or two working with textiles. That being said, there could be a year that doesn’t look like this at all and I spend the whole year throwing pots or drawing. It all depends on where I am emotionally and physically at the time.

Where did your initial attraction to examining your path in life as a visual record stem from?

I come from a long line of storytellers and within this history there are diverse ethnic backgrounds that come into play. Storytelling and the making of artwork have played a tremendous role in my family’s history. I think that coming from such a diverse background as I do, as well as all of the moving and traveling I have done in my life, have required me to be constantly reflective. The consistent examination of who I am as a human being allows who I am to remain in a state of constant flux, which I suppose in some ways allows the change to not be so difficult.

What message do you want to get across to viewers through your art?

I don’t know that there is a specific message I am hoping to get across. I simply hope that in the telling of my story, it enables the viewers to see their own story within the work as well, that perhaps my work is simply a window or door into their own lives.

What are some of your artistic influences?

I am drawn to well-crafted, process oriented work that shows the presence of the hand in the work. So within this realm I would say that one of my biggest influences is Lee Bontecou. As an artist she possesses a strong integrity to craft and content, and it shows in the work. I am also deeply influenced by the work of Georgia O’Keefe. I find it refreshing to look at works of art that speak of beauty. Lastly, I would have to say I am heavily inspired by Karen Karnes. Her later, more sculptural works possess a strong sense of the unknown, while still trying to name the mystery of existence through the use of the hands.

You describe your work as “relics of visually constructed memory.” What influence does this kind of recordkeeping have in your day-to-day life?

I believe strongly in the recording of life so I carry a pen and journal wherever I go. There is something deeply personal about writing down notes that document your life, not so much so that you can go back and read it but to simply become acquainted with pausing throughout your day to witness and reflect. By witnessing and reflecting on my life through the written work and other materials such as clay, I am able to put it outside of myself and move on.

Would you say you are striving to create a visual diary?

No, not a diary, a visual landscape yes. A few years back I read this amazing book called the “Anatomy of the Spirit.” In the book the author talks a lot about how our bodies become a biological landscape of both our physical and emotional lives and that everything we go through both physically and emotionally affects our physiology. In essence we become a walking landscape. When I think of the work I am making, I suppose I think of it in a similar way. It is a visual landscape of my work, and one piece could be based on one particular moment or nine years of my life.

What are some of the reactions you have received from people viewing your work?

I have heard from quite a few people that they see my work as being fairly poetic and quiet. 

What is one thing you have learned about yourself as an artist in creating these works?

I have learned that it is helpful if I have time and space to slowly create the work, one piece after another. If I am able to sit with all of the work for a prolonged period, slowly, I am able to see how the pieces should fit together, who are the characters, and what the story is that needs to be told.

What kind of experiences do you draw from for inspiration?

I draw from all of my experiences, both the good and the bad. All of it is meaty and offers substance that can be used as inspiration.

How long did it take you to develop your own style?

I am still creating it.

Most of your ceramic pieces are rounded, organic and flowing shapes. Is there a specific meaning behind this?

I suppose when I think of the human body and the movement of landscapes, I think of soft, organic shapes.

Does your work on one project often lead to the inspiration of your next endeavor?

I do my best to not take too much down time in between projects, so the short answer is yes. But I would also like to believe that because it is my hand that is making the work, there will always be a consistent line of thought between the vast expanses.

What’s next? 

Keep making, making, making. It is all in the work.

Questions by gallery intern Johanna Goggins.