Q & A with Allison Rose Craver – Contain Yourself


What prompted your interest in creating work about the body?

My interest in the body revealed itself over time. In the beginning it was not a conscious pursuit. As I generated more and more work, however, the body was an obvious thematic pattern. I choose to embrace it. My personal history includes caregiving, and I have been witness to a great deal of physical pain. So, it makes sense that my work would reflect this preoccupation.



What is your process for choosing materials and the scale for a particular piece?

I usually start with a material that I am drawn to. Whether it is fiber or a specific clay body, I won’t understand its role in my studio practice until I have spent time playing with it and exploring all of its properties. This process could happen very quickly, or it might take many months of rumination. But eventually I will realize how the material relates to my conceptual interests, and a piece will follow. The process is very intuitive. In terms of scale, I often make work that relates to the size of my own body. I also appreciate making work that acknowledges my physical limitations; I am unlikely to make something that I can’t lift or move myself. I enjoy feeling autonomous, especially in the context of my studio.



To what extent do you plan out a piece before executing it?

While I might plan something in the beginning, this is usually just a strategy to get myself started. As soon as I begin working I am looking for moments that hold potential, and I am always open to changing the piece. The work is the result of a process – I can’t relate to the idea of ‘executing’ a piece. It would be more accurate to describe the idea as fuel: it gets burned off.



What research is informing your current work?

My work draws from my personal experiences and an eclectic mix of readings, observations, artworks, and stories. Research is important because it gives work context and keeps it relevant, but my work and research interests are not linear. I spent a lot of time in graduate school reading about nursing and other forms of caregiving. I was fascinated with Florence Nightingale.



What have you learned in the process of creating this work?

Preparing for this show has been challenging! I just graduated from Ohio State
University and moved across the country, so I have been learning about the challenges of working, living, and art-making outside of a structured academic setting.



How do you go about titling your pieces?
I spend time reading the dictionary, looking up words that seem relevant to a particular piece. I like pulling apart definitions and finding linguistic connections. I try to keep titles simple and let the works speak for themselves.



What is the most necessary and/or important item in your studio and why?

This is a really tough question! I can’t think of anything I couldn’t do without. I like to believe that my practice doesn’t rely on anything besides my hands and my curiosity.



How do you seek inspiration for a new series?

It is difficult for me to break my work into series or discrete investigations. Each piece builds on the last, and the work is a continuum. When I need inspiration I usually don’t have to look further than my studio table. If things feel stale, spending time in the world and reading will help me see older work from a fresh perspective. I am always making work about the same things – always trying to answer the same questions. Again and again.


Questions by Gallery Assistant Kristen Holmberg


October 19 – November 9, 2017

Christensen Center Gallery

Artist Talk: Wedneday, Oct. 18, 11:10 a.m. Christensen Center Gallery


In The Logic Of The Exception Anthony Warnick engages the ways contemporary society repeats the same problematic states of exemption that have persisted in the United States for three centuries. This is done through the deployment of objects from pop culture and approbation of the prison industrial supply chain.


Anthony Warnick lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. Warnick holds a M.F.A. in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and a B.F.A. from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Web + Multimedia Environments. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions and group shows across the United States at such institution as Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota, The Soap Factory, Roy G Biv Gallery (Columbus, OH), SPACES (Cleveland, OH), Minneapolis Institute of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and Cranbrook Museum of Art. He has been artist-in-residence at Elsewhere Museum (Greensboro, NC), SOMA (Mexico City), and Futurefarmers (San Francisco, CA). Also, he is the co-director for the alternative space The Muted Horn, a project space focused on bringing national and international artist to Cleveland, Ohio. His work is in public and private collections throughout North America.


My practice makes the viewer aware of the systems within which we operate. I commandeer appearances; treating art history as a database, retrieving and amalgamating for future creations.  This intentional remaking highlights the collaborative production of culture. Through borrowing, the context becomes the primary focus. The forms fall into two categories: objects and performances. I construct the objects from common, recognizable materials like drywall, 2x4s, plywood, newsprint, and cotton fabric. These material choices draw attention to the overlapping conditions we operate within, rather than the allure of the pieces. I augment these corporeal elements with intangible ones like bureaucratic procedures and archival records. My practice critiques and dovetails with our everyday. While the economic, political, or educational systems feel immutable, my work provides and produces poetic and symbolic paths of resistance.


Image: Still from “One Hundred And Fifty More“, 2017



Q & A with Eileen Cohen – For the Frill of It

Eileen Cohen

Where did you find the inspiration for this project?

A few ideas played into the conception of this piece. I knew I wanted to use the wall and create work with a strong visual impact. I was thinking about fabric moving on or off the wall, about molding and how it is used to hide or conceal seams and dress up a space, and about ruffles and tutus. Further, the connection to ceramics as a material and its history was an important factor and consideration. The work references roof tiles and makes a connection back to clay as a humble material, one with function and purpose. I questioned the purpose of making ruffled tiles to make a pretty wall and the value of doing it, For the Frill of It, so to speak. The journey has been invaluable and full of unexpected lessons.
What are some of the challenges you faced while creating?

I spent several months testing what size and shape to make tiles and how to install them on a wall. The scale of the project grew beyond my original conception leading to storage issues, time constraints, cost, etc. I have a small workspace and quickly max out space, impacting production.

Eileen Cohen's Artist Studio

How have the quantity of tiles and repetition that goes into creating each individual tile contributed to your experience and the meaning of this piece as a whole?

I enjoyed the repetition. The repetitive action is a practice or discipline. It helped set goals for how I used my time in the studio and kept me focused and goal-oriented. The quantity of tiles made me question the practicality of this project and ask questions about how I spend my time, effort and money.  I struggled with acceptance of my idea and the value of doing it but at a certain point I fully committed. In the end, it was completely worthwhile and a valuable pursuit.

Eileen Cohen's Studio

How have people responded to this project so far?

Overwhelmingly supportive. Curious. Interested.

Eileen Cohen's Studio

What message would you like the viewer to take away from this installation?

I wanted to create a warm, soft, feminine space. I hope the viewer stands in awe of it for a moment.

Ceramic Tiles

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Trust yourself. Commit to your ideas. Ask for help. Plan ahead. Ask questions.

Eileen Cohen in her studio

Questions by Gallery Assistant Katie Smith

Eileen Cohen – Artist Statement

Ceramic Tiles

Artist Statement


For the Frill of It

As a ceramic artist, I am committed to exploring clay as an expressive material. Its tactile quality, rich history, and utilitarian, sculptural, and decorative applications continually inspire me. For the Frill of It references clay roof tiles, a practical springboard to make something impractical — ruffled tiles.

This project began as a daydream over a year ago. I imagined myself very small and standing under a giant ballerina’s tutu. Surrounded and enveloped by her tutu, I was swept by the beauty of her skirt. It wasn’t until I revisited this daydream that I began to recognize the strength, power, and grace of the ballerina.

In the studio, ideas of luxury and excess and how they translate through fashion and dress initially inspired my research. Through a reductive process in which I removed more and more information, a ruffled tile remained. As I began constructing the ruffles and testing fit and installation methods, the similarity to clay roof tiles was evident. The connection to a roof, its purpose to provide protection, added layers to the ruffles, not only in physical assembly but in meaning. This association deepened my exploration of what is viewed as feminine and masculine and how they support and/or oppose one another.

The production of the tiles was systematic. The repetitive tasks and months of studio time allowed for an internal dialogue about investment of time and effort, practicality, and triviality. As the work increased in size and scope, it began to take on a life of its own and I no longer questioned my commitment to it or its value.

For the Frill of It has been a transformative journey. Through the enormity of the project and commitment required, I continually examined and reflected on my evolving relationship to the work. My hope with this work is to impart warmth, softness, and strength.

This project was made possible by the support of friends and family for which I am truly grateful. I wish to thank Jenny Wheatley for her trust, support, and encouragement and Peter Hannah for his expertise, guidance, and assistance. In addition, I would like to thank Katie Smith, Linda Dobosenki, Anne Wendland, Seth Eberle, Brian Antonich, Sarah Ostrum Reis, Stacie Schlomer Totzke, Kimberlee Joy Roth, Trygve Nordberg, Alyssa Baguss, and others who graciously donated their time and effort to make this project happen.

-Eileen Cohen


For the Frill of IT – Eileen Cohen

Ceramic Tiles

For the Frill of It
Eileen Cohen

November 11 – December 20, 2016

Reception: November 11, 6 – 8 p.m. –  Gage Family Art Gallery

Cohen’s ceramic installation references clay roof tiles, using something practical as a springboard to make something impractical — ruffled tiles.  In For the Frill of It, Cohen questions the definition of value, what is useful and important, and ideas of luxury and excess.

Q & A with Keren Kroul – Unquiet Territories

When did you begin working with watercolor?

I began working with watercolor as a primary medium 15 years ago. I was pregnant with my first child, and I wanted to keep working consistently without the use of toxic materials and fumes. Before this I had painted with oil paints on canvas.

Keren Kroul's sketchbook

How do geometric shapes relate to your personal memories? What shape and color does a positive memory tend to form in your mind? What shape and color do you use to depict negative memories?

In this body of work, I am using the geometric shape less for its meaning and more as a tool. To me it works as a unit of imagery, like a line or a brushstroke. It is a unit of visual language and also a unit of time, a building block building a larger image from tiny shapes. The color, however, is more specific and meaningful. I love color. I find that color is strongly connected to moments and impressions. For example, blues are the sea of my childhood in Israel and greens are the lush vegetation of Costa Rica, where I lived as a teen.

Keren Kroul painting

Are you willing to share with us a specific memory that is included in this exhibition?

The 12-panel piece that is purple with green and yellow depicts the following memory: The small black vertical lines that seem to be tangled and flowing downwards represent my great aunt’s braids. She was my grandmother’s twin sister. Her name was Judith, and she died of typhus at age 23 in a concentration camp in Jurin, Ukraine, in 1945. Throughout her life, my grandmother kept those braids wrapped in silk in a drawer by her bed and was eventually buried with them. To me this image represents loss, of course, but also continuity, hope, and memory as an active living companion.

Keren Kroul's studio

What is the most difficult part of the process for you?

The beginning and the end of each piece are the most difficult, in the sense that I am doubting myself. In the very beginning: how to begin, what colors to use, and what overall shape? In the end: when to end, how much is enough, and what will tip the image over the edge and ruin the thing?

Keren Kroul's studio

What is your favorite part of the process?

Every part of the process is both challenging and fun.

Keren Kroul's paints

Who are some of your major artistic influences?

I am inspired by a range of artists and art practices: from Rothko and Frankenthaler (for the monumentality of their work and their belief in the emotional universality of color); to Guston and Amy Sillman (painters working at the cross of abstraction and figuration); to traditional world crafts like textiles and tiles (for their use of specific geometry and intense saturated color.)

Books in Keren Kroul's studio

What advice would you give to emerging artists?

a) Have a source of income that is not your studio work. b) Show up to your studio practice as often as you can.

Quote on Keren Kroul's artboard

What is next for you?

Artistically, I am moving on from the geometric imagery into more representational/specific imagery and looking into the possibility of moving away from the wall. What would that look like? Professionally, I am exploring more exhibition venues and teaching opportunities

Questions by Gallery Assistant Katie Smith

Unquiet Territories – Exhibition Essay by Christina Schmid


Watercolor by artist Keren Kroul

Unquiet Territories by Keren Kroul

Exhibition Essay by Christina Schmid

Christina Schmid thinks with art and writes as critical practice. Her essays and reviews have been published both online and in print, in anthologies, journals, artist books, exhibition catalogs, and digital platforms. She works at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Art in Minneapolis, where she gets to talk about art and theory for a living. Her teaching focuses on contemporary art, mixed with critical theories, framed by cross-cultural currents and driven, always, by deep curiosity.



Unquiet Territories
Keren Kroul

November 7 – December 20, 2016

Reception: November 11, 6 – 8 p.m. – Christensen Center Art Gallery

Working with watercolor on paper, Kroul creates dense organic formations from small shapes and patterns. Inspired by memories, neural pathways and natural elements, these map-like rhythmic structures are landscapes of the mind.