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

Kate Roberts – Artist Statement & Bio

Kate Roberts – Bowing

Artist Statement

My practice is a meditation on time and its role in the decay of objects and memories. Inspiration is drawn from historical objects, the architecture around me, or a personal relationship. My processes are repetitive and labor intensive; I draw, construct, and weave using materials to depict fleeting, fragile moments and to examine the temporary physicality of an object or idea. I create work to find the beauty and the unrest in this temporal state.

Artist Bio

Kate Roberts is native of Greenville, South Carolina. She received both her MFA and BFA at Alfred University in 2015 and 2010 respectively. She has completed residencies at Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts in Helena, MT, Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado, La Meridiana in Italy, and Le Cite International des Arts in Paris. Her work has been exhibited at the Tampa Art Museum in Tampa, FL and Everson Museum in Syracuse, NY; major exhibitions include the 69th Scripps Ceramic Annual, the 2011 and 2015 NCECA Biennial, and Ceramic Top 40. She is currently a Lecturer of Ceramics at University of Washingto

BOWING by Kate Roberts

BOWING by Kate RobertsBOWING
Kate Roberts

January 16 – February 26, 2017

Using unfired clay, Roberts’ sculptures question the consequences of nature and man. Nature bares life, nature takes life away, humanity resists, but nature in the end has the final say. And without question the cycle begins again.

Statement

My practice is a meditation on time and its role in the decay of objects and memories. Inspiration is drawn from historical objects, the architecture around me, or a personal relationship. My processes are repetitive and labor intensive; I draw, construct, and weave using materials to depict fleeting, fragile moments and to examine the temporary physicality of an object or idea. I create work to find the beauty and the unrest in this temporal state.

Bio

Kate Roberts is native of Greenville, South Carolina. She received both her MFA and BFA at Alfred University in 2015 and 2010 respectively. She has completed residencies at Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts in Helena, MT, Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado, La Meridiana in Italy, and Le Cite International des Arts in Paris. Her work has been exhibited at the Tampa Art Museum in Tampa, FL and Everson Museum in Syracuse, NY; major exhibitions include the 69th Scripps Ceramic Annual, the 2011 and 2015 NCECA Biennial, and Ceramic Top 40. She is currently a Lecturer of Ceramics at University of Washington.

 

Gage Family Art Gallery

 

Q & A with Megan Vossler – Terra Firma

What lessons did you take from Dante’s Inferno, and how do those themes play throughout your artwork in this show?

I read Mary Jo Bang’s translation of Inferno (Graywolf Press: 2013), and I was struck by how she brought the narrative into the present day. Her translation is full of references to current events and popular culture. This really brought the story to life and emphasized the timelessness of the human behaviors that Dante classified as “sins” — even the specific characters in his story (especially certain politicians and the like) have their counterparts in today’s world. But what interested me even more than the characters and their transgressions were the landscapes that Dante invented for each of the nine circles of Hell. Each circle has its own distinct terrain, climate, and weather that is perfectly tailored to the punishments that occur there. For example, the second circle is characterized by a ferocious wind that tosses about the bodies of those who are punished for sins related to “Lust”: the way that their bodies were out of control in real life is re-created eternally in the afterlife.

So each circle is a different microcosm and a different landscape. In the narrative, the circles are loosely connected by a network of rivers, swamps and waterfalls. In the large drawing, titled Geothermia, I tried to stay faithful to these different landscapes, while avoiding directly illustrating very many literal scenes from the text. I think, in the end, that piece becomes less about divine punishment and more about the earth itself — the earth is buckling under the weight of human transgression. It’s almost as if the earth is being punished.

Water is a strong theme within your show; could you tell us more about what it means to you and its influence in this work?

Water functions as a connective element between the circles of Hell in Inferno, but it is also treacherous: at the fifth circle, for example, Dante and Virgil are ferried safely across the river Acheron, but it is filled with the souls of the sullen, who are choking on mud. Bodies of water in both the narrative and in real life have a dual nature as both conduits of passage and a source of danger, and this informs all of the work in the show.

Could you tell us more about the life jackets? What is the symbolism behind them and the paper, bronze, or moss that they are made of?

The life jacket is a small object with very large connotations and symbolism. Their inclusion in this show came initially from the conflation of water and danger in Dante’s narrative. But the forms of life vests and rescue boats take on a more immediate urgency with the refugee crisis in Syria, which has left more than 10 million people displaced. Almost half of those have fled across the Mediterranean in often deadly conditions. The lack of safe passage across the sea is only the beginning of their dangerous journey.

The cast paper and the bronze are each extreme examples of materials that cause the life vest to lose its ability to function. The arrangement of the paper life vests on the floor is meant to have a certain immediacy, as though they just washed ashore — and the translucent paper makes them almost ghostlike. The moss life vest is titled “Ruin,” evoking a sense that it has been abandoned and eventually overgrown.

What are some of your biggest challenges to overcome during the creation process?

In general, I would say my biggest challenges usually center around the question of what to include and what to leave out. In Geothermia, I had to continue to remind myself that I was not illustrating the book. There are so many vividly detailed scenes in Inferno that would be so great to draw, but I had a goal to make a piece that would stand on its own, so I had to scale back on the direct references. I also found the composition pretty challenging, to figure out a way to link the different scenes together without resorting to a simple cone shape with concentric circles in it. Then, there are always technical challenges — in this case, this is the first time that I’ve made works in bronze and cast paper, so there was a steep learning curve there.

What words of wisdom would you pass along to aspiring artists?

Just to start. Beginning is the hardest part. If you have an idea that nags at you, no matter how ridiculous it might seem, you should try it. I talk a lot about the importance of failure with students, and it’s just a fact that not everything you attempt will succeed — and that can feel very intimidating at first. And failure is incredibly uncomfortable at times. It sucks. But if you get good at starting things, you’ll always have another project to jump into. It’s easy to finish something that’s going well — it’s a lot harder to start something new that is a risk. So I think cultivating the ability to start is almost more important than cultivating the ability to finish.

 

Questions by Gallery Assistant Katie Smith

 

Megan Vossler – Artist Statement & Bio

 

vosslerlifejacket

Artist statement

Dante’s epic poem Inferno is an allegorical account of the weight of human transgression, and its complex metaphorical richness has enduring resonance. Nine “circles” of hell are described, each corresponding with sins of escalating consequence. In Dante’s story, the circles occupy distinct physical terrain, and the landscape itself is presented as vividly as the human and mythical characters are. Physical forces—the effects of rain, wind, and sleet, the perilous nature of mud and ice, and the pull of gravity—all become part of the narrative. Water, especially, functions as both a connective element and a source of mortal danger, exemplified by the treacherous swamps, marshes and depths of the river Styx. My work in Terra Firma explores these metaphors and dissonances through a contemporary lens.

 

Bio
Megan Vossler received her BA from Brown University and her MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited nationwide, including shows at the Minneapolis Institue of Art and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Megan has been a recipient of several prestigious awards, including a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists, a McKnight Artists Fellowship for Visual Artists, a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study grant, and two Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants. She currently serves on the curatorial panel at Soo Visual Arts Center, and teaches drawing at Macalester College.