HOME SWEET HOME, JENNY WEINREIS

March 4 – 22, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, March 22, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Home Sweet Home is an interactive installation piece that brings together aspects of the past and present to interpret the future of human interaction and communication. Jenny Weinreis uses a variety of mediums, such as needlework, printing, found object, and sculpture to explore the fast-paced, evolving world while staying rooted in the generations that came before.


BUILDING BLOCKS, GLEN GARDNER

JANUARY 22 – february 1, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, Feb. 1, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Using stacked stone structures, Gardner’s work strives to show a connection that exists between the human world and the natural world while incorporating his submersion into adulthood.

Bio

Glen Gardner is a multi-media artist who is currently finishing up his last year in Augsburg Studio Art Program. He has taken up a focus on how humans interact with the environment, while expressing this with 3D media. His art focuses on bringing the audience to have an emotional connection to the natural and human world.

Statement

Growing up, I did a lot of hiking. A common character on these hikes were cairns, human-made structures of short, deliberately stacked rocks, and I was fascinated with them. Since then, I have come to believe that they are much more than just piles of rocks. On a functional level, these cairns of my early life served the purpose of marking a pathway where a trail didn’t exist. The instructions were simple: play a game of connect-the-dots with the stone piles. But they did something more. They showed me that I could be an architect in a human world. The simplicity of the forms, along with the abundance of material, encouraged these natural sculptures. I also began to realize that, because these stones had been exposed to the natural world, the materials gained a very intricate but consistent aesthetic. The processes of erosion effectively put thousands of years of work into these rocks, and the fact that similar rocks will be in the same place creates the ingredients for an interesting sculpture. By combining these natural processes with a human architect, and then performing this in a location that has been developed by nature for years and years and years, a cairn becomes a piece of art. Upon moving to Minneapolis, I noticed that the cairns I was seeing were taking a much different form. Before, they were used to mark a path, but in the Twin Cities this was much less needed. Instead, cairns here seem to mark a space for people, showing that a destination had been reached. They also spoke to the human compulsion to create and build. There have been several times at Hidden Beach when people just stacked rocks for whatever reason.

For my art, I wanted to recreate a feeling of entering a natural space in an unnatural setting while evoking childlike wonder among the participants. As I began this journey, I started to realize that these forms need to allow the natural world in. Unfortunately, I was lacking the time to erode materials for years and years, so I decided to leave a lot of forms up to chance. This meant that I would try to manipulate the form’s aspects as minimally as possible and allow the material to speak for itself. I began to see each stone that I made as a building block used to create a larger form. The results were these large and heavy spinal forms that could not be self-supported. The results were not jovial; they speak to me as a visual representation of me drifting away from the child inside, but still keeping those experiences in my heart.


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

Landscape Abstraction – Matthew Winkler

Landscape Abstraction by Matthew Winkler

November 14 – December 19, 2017

 

Matthew Winkler presents a new series of layered sculptures that explore the representation of place. Created with cut paper, wood, paint, and printed imagery, the works engage the gallery environment and set up an interplay physical and pictorial space and positive and negative form.

 

Artist Bio

Matthew Winkler creates multi-layered drawings and sculptures that are a poetic response to the built and natural world. He is a 2017 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant recipient and a 2014 recipient of a Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council Individual Artist Grant. Matthew is adjunct faculty at Winona State University, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and Riverland Community College. He completed a BA from Williams College in 2004 and an MFA from California State University Long Beach in 2011. Matthew grew up in New Jersey and currently lives and works in Rochester, MN.

 

Artist Statement

I’m interested in exploring an interplay of physical, pictorial and perceptual space in my work. I use cut paper, wood, paint, and printed material to make layered two and three-dimensional constructions. These works contain a shifting relationship between positive and negative form and engage with their environment, registering changes in light and shadow and allowing for different views within an exhibition space.

Experiences with specific landscapes and architectural spaces are the starting point for each construction. The places I choose to focus on often contain layers of meaning – personal as well as social or ecological histories. I use a distinct process of collage, digital manipulation, drawing/painting, subtraction, and accumulation. Through this process I allow the form of each work to appear over time. I consider the course of making of each work a metaphor for the complex process of understanding and assigning meaning to place. I would like viewers of my work to have a physical/sensory experience with the work first and then question what visual forms are being represented, deconstructed, or manipulated.

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