Nearly a decade after working in residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, my small framed “Found Drawings” will begin traveling Nebraska to call attention to the residency and creative output it incubates. An email announcing the first venue- Hastings College Art Gallery. The “Found Drawings” are from the shower drain- the soap and my hair created them while living in the large apartment I shared with a writer over my two month stay. The residency was such a rich experience, I am still creating works related to ideas sparked in the winter of 2005.
Please come see the show NEXT SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. when I will be holding the gallery OPEN OR during the weekday hours when there is a work study student attending the gallery, Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The gallery is CLOSED TODAY, Saturday, September 13.
I hope to see you next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. -Jess
A huge Thank You to all that came out to the reception last night. As soon as the gallery opened for the reception- I started some lively conversations with my very supportive fellow Creve Coeur Arts Commission members and lots of new people from the Ferguson area. Thanks to Mark Heil for the heartfelt intro- it was invigorating to think about the positive influence we can have on others and how much art can move others.
Some highlights of the evening: One young man raved about my work— and I pressed him to tell me what he liked about it. He made my night- as he laid out another wording of what the Memorial(Needs Tending) was aimed to say. Another gentleman did the same- calling it a “magic chair”. I am really happy with how well that work speaks. It only took two years of sitting in my studio, my KHN residency, and a few versions to get there. /My one year old daughter running over to hug my legs while having conversations about the importance of family. /As my talk continued, more familiar faces popped up in the crowd. /I got some thought-provoking questions at the end of my presentation. And I think “fixing the flux” is not my goal anymore- George. I think it is more about engaging in the moment and celebrating maintenance. It was an engaging night.
It made me ache to work with students- glad I’ll be going back to do a workshop in November.
I plan to channel this energy into the studio and get some more deadlines on the docket- I’ve just got an upcoming show at Schmidt Art Center to look forward to. I need deadlines to stop researching and editing and get into production mode. Applications here I come!
6 – 8 pm
7 pm Gallery Talk
FREE and Open to the Public
Please join us!
This past weekend I celebrated the success of an amazing friend and writer- Christa Fraser. She will soon be heading off to finish her novel(s). We got a synopsis of the books and few paragraphs read aloud. Wow. Wow. Wow. Listening to her, I wanted to underline the words and dog-ear pages to repeat them over and over. I can’t wait until she finishes the two projects and I can devour and share them.
I would like to quote my KHN poet pal, FAVORITE art viewing buddy (and ice cream-eating buddy) Jee Leong Koh “All art is an abstraction from reality. Reality to my eyes appears chaotic, monotonous, empty. Art gives it form, color and meaning. Both figurative and abstract art do this, and so are more profoundly closer in their work than apart. I am especially drawn to art that works at the boundary of figuration and abstraction. That is why Henri Matisse is my favorite artist. He does not escape into naturalism or minimalism but holds them in tension, loving the world and changing the art.” Matisse isn’t my favorite, but I can relate so much to Jeong’s reasoning behind his reaction to him.
One more fabulous quotation from Jee: “Definitions are a small halt at a brief station.” (read the whole interview here.)
I believe art has the power to unite people and spark dialog. If visual art is the visual history of ideas— how can one best make meaning out of the events in Ferguson? I believe that many voices need to be heard, many viewpoints need to be shared and respected. As an educator- I focus on cheer-leading and helping people to realize their own potential whether it be a skill-building drawing class or art appreciation. Leadership is a responsibility for everyone and anyone. I hope the community response stemming from the events in Ferguson, MO will give momentum to projects that give a voice and power to lead to a generation of people who feel forgotten. Instead of just hoping- I need to work towards that goal. I very much miss the classroom- although I am filled with joy at getting to focus my time raising my own children.
I feel a huge sense of relief that my exhibition is installed- but a call to action as well. (How can I get a bunch of communication talents together to help give a voice to this community?) How can I help? How can one inspire leadership? How does one best share your talents and cultivate it in others?
I remember getting solace from Ayomi Yoshida‘s Yedoensis installation at the NIU Art Museum after the NIU school shooting. Hearing the poems of Ted Kooser helped me feel connected to the world again. I do think art has a place in healing and reconnecting us to the beautiful and helping us face the ugly- but I think cultivating others for leadership is perhaps a quicker way to be the change one wants to see.
An art object’s meaning can change according to context. When I originally conceived Memorial (needs Tending) in 2005 while in residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the silicone was chosen to hold the shadow- to define what once was. The chair was a surrogate for a body and/or mind ravaged by disease. The need to be filled with water is the work involved in remembering the whole person. In light of the police shooting death of Micheal Brown on August 9, the ideas of Memorial (needs tending) seems even more poignant. The silicone shadow now also reads as a chalk outline. I’ve been thinking a lot about a family who lost a son. And the work involved to honor the memory of a life lost.
I’m putting up all the artwork myself for this one (except for the tech support provided by Media Services and IT to get the computers and projectors, in place- Thanks especially Duane, Elwood and Phil!)- so it’s been a large time investment. I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful family to stay and help all of last week- I couldn’t have done this without their help- especially with all the schedule changes. I hope my package arrives on time, so everything else can fall into place.