Collecting Roots On display at the Rochester Art Center Nov. 18th - Jan. 4th
The Inspiration Many things have inspired this show; people, places, experiences, on and on. When I dig down to the very root of the inspiration for this show I believe that it comes down to where I grew up and the experiences I had there. I grew up on a horse ranch outside of Rochester, MN in rural Southeast Minnesota. Down a mile long driveway sat two houses, my family’s and my neighbor’s. My neighbor had cows and horses and my parents looked after them when they went away each winter. Things went on for many years without a lot of change. In 2002 a fire caught in a barn very near to my house. The barn burned to the ground along with many of my family’s possessions. This is when the earliest memory I have of collecting something occurred. Some glass had shattered from a window in the barn but had remained intact in shiny blue-green crystals. I remember taking half and putting them into a tiny jewelry box to save and taking the other half out to the woods to bury it. No one likes change, but change is imminent and unstoppable. I think that I collect things because of that change. Time, experiences, and memories are precious and I want to take a piece of that with me. The impermanence of life and the strong connection to where I grew up inspired my works in this show. It shows itself in the form of figures broken up or interrupted interacting or being enveloped by nature whether they are aware of it or not.
The Paintings I never consider any painting “done”, it gets to a point where I say this is done “for now”. Each painting is an evolving piece that could change down the road. When I start a painting I have a core idea that I want to try to express. Sometimes it goes as planned and sometimes it goes in another direction. I enjoy when a painting goes in it’s own direction more than when everything goes according to the original plan. The thing I love about painting is when a single stroke of paint can change the way I thought the image should go. I like to be surprised and follow where the paint takes me.
The Drawings Drawing for me is quick and satisfying. With drawing I can often get the graphite to do (almost) exactly what I want. When I have a picture in my head I can represent it on paper in a way that I feel content with. This process is very different from painting for me because painting tends to have good and bad days and a mind of its own whereas drawing is more of a steady process. The drawings I have been making recently have been inspired by historical anatomical illustrations and prints and by the graphite itself. I received a pack of graphite pencils a long time ago and never touched them until a few years ago. I think I was intimidated by the array of soft and hard and different numbers of pencils. When I started drawing I had maybe two pencils that I used, so more than that was excessive. I have since learned the absolute beauty of having a wide array of graphite where one can be so delicate that it is almost invisible and another can be such a bold line that it takes confidence and a willingness to be wrong.
The Nature Collection Collecting things comes naturally to me. Wherever I go I tend to pick up objects along the way. I keep them for an unknown reason. I would say that collecting things is probably a learned trait from my mother’s side of the family who tended to have just about anything you’d ever need (or definitely not need) in a box somewhere in the basement. Every family vacation included some form of rock picking whether it was on a beach or on the side of the road. When I collect things I feel as though I am collecting a memory, a small piece from a time and place that I want to remember. I wanted to include pieces from my own collection of natural objects alongside these paintings and drawings because it felt wrong to separate them. My studio room at home is filled with art supplies, half finished paintings, and natural objects. My collection creates a curated space of inspiration even if images of rocks and sticks don’t show up in my work; the feeling of being surrounded by nature and memories is present.
The Gratitude I want to send out a huge thank you to the Rochester Art Center for hosting my works and helping me throughout the process of my first exhibition. I also want to thank SEMAC the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council for choosing to support this exhibition through a grant made possible by the voters of Minnesota and a legislative appropriation from the arts & culture heritage fund. I also want to thank my parents for the immense amount of support they give by helping me build panels and frames, keeping me on track, hauling things to and from exhibitions, and for being the ones who found the diamond of a place to grow up.