Jerome Fiber Artists Grant exhibition
September 3 – October 24, 2015 • Joan Mondale Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 3, 6 – 8 pm
Artists’ Talk: Thursday, September 17, 7 pm
Four Jerome Fiber Artists Project Grants awarded through Textile Center were created to expand opportunities for emerging artists to take a step forward in their artistic careers. You Know Who You Are, the culmination of these projects, features digitally designed and printed fabric, wearable art from adapted vintage patterns, knotless netting, mixed media assemblage, hand and digital printing, and collage. Textile Center exhibitions are supported in part by the Joan Mondale Gallery Endowment.
Jerome Fellow Sarah Kusa’s grant project was to create large-format work, and some of it literally would not fit in the gallery for this show. You are invited to Sarah’s studio down the street from Textile Center to see more of her Jerome project: an installation in progress, completely different from her work on view in the Joan Mondale Gallery.
Friday, September 18th, 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 19th, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Or by appointment: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Studio E-6, 2500 University Ave. W., Saint Paul (about a mile east of Textile Center)
Up the main stairs, straight past the cargo elevator, on the left
I use mixed media to create three-dimensional works dealing with human vulnerability, resilience, and interdependence. In my abstract forms, I investigate themes of connection, protection, and permanence. My recent work explores the coexistence of fragility and power. I seek out material that conceptually supports this idea and transform it with simple physical manipulations. The resulting objects reveal evidence of the hand, reflecting the human condition in either its frailty, its raw strength, or both.
My work on view both in this gallery and in my nearby studio are projects I took on to try working in larger formats. My goal was to become more mindful of the scale of all of my work going forward. With a larger studio space, I was able to consider size and placement of objects in new and meaningful ways. I sincerely appreciate the support of the Jerome Foundation and Textile Center for helping me engage this new territory.
Some of my work for this project would not fit in the gallery in the context of this show. You are invited to my studio on September 18th and 19th during two open times (or by appointment) to view a completely different installation in progress, tentatively titled Force Field, that also stems from this project. Please see the gallery binder for details.
The project I designed for my Jerome Grant was a way to explore digital art. I am a teacher, and I know that in every class my students teach me something and show me a new ways of looking at a problem. As a beginner in a class, students aren’t tied down by the technical “right way” to do something and that allows them to experiment, think outside the box and look for connections informed by that inexperience.
Since there is no “right way” to design digitally, I decided to create “duets” between myself and another artist and use that idea of learning from my peers. For each duet, my partner and I had a conversation about art, through shared art-making. The focus of our conversation wasn’t about the technical aspects or the specific media, but bigger art and design concepts and how we can use digital tools to influence those ideas. Our process would be to learn by observing and exploring other ways of working, solving problems or playing together. Together we posed a lot of questions that said “what if we…” or “could we try something like…”
Some unexpected results came out of these conversations. For one piece, instead of starting from a digital photo as is my typical practice, I created paper art as the initial design, adding a layer of depth and texture. I had envisioned a single design from each conversation, but as I worked, I found myself creating multiple coordinating prints for each garment. There was more to the conversation than I could capture in a single print. Each piece has a story, not just in the surface design, but in the lines and style of the garment itself. Each one pushed me to try something new.
As I look at each finished piece, I see a snapshot of a rich conversation with many ideas still to be explored. That is an exciting place to be.
Fabric is personal; it is tactile, infused with physical presence, sensual. It can be sculpture, drawing, painting, or book, all at once. My work is primarily concerned with fabric, and with narrative. The weaving, bearing, and wearing of cloth is the human story. Cloth is our second skin and all its forms tell our secrets, whether of soul or society.
The Jerome Fiber Artist Project Grant has been very beneficial to me. It has been an opportunity to focus on acquiring new skills, and challenge my ability to execute more complex designs. My goals were twofold, to “get my work off the wall,” and to learn the basics of book construction and apply them to works in fabric. I was able to take multiple classes at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, where in addition to skill building, I found a new source of ideas and inspiration. To be fair, someone else influenced me greatly just before I received the grant, and her voice has remained a significant resource throughout the grant period: I was able to take a workshop at the Textile Center with Anna Pohlmann Carlson in October 2014, an experience which really validated my long-held interest in text within fiber arts.
I thank Anna for her encouragement and keen insights. I also owe thanks to Anna Boyer Bredeson, Artist and Adult Programs Director at MCBA. She very patiently listened to my long story and list of goals pursuant to the Jerome project, and steered me in the right direction. I hope to continue in association with MCBA as a Certificate student. Through the Jerome Fiber Artist Project Grant, I was able to explore ideas that have long waited fruition, and begin to visualize an expanded future for my art practice.
Fiber art is a vast medium with limitless possibilities. An artist can explore materials, techniques, aesthetics, culture, and history. Each experience in fiber art reveals a greater connection, experience, and evolution for the viewer and myself.
Creating fiber art is the comfortable path for me. I love the tactile and physically engaging qualities. I experience a process guided by instinct, my inner voice, engaging holistically: my hands, body, mind, and spirit. My artistic process is a journey from unknown to discovery.
Reflecting, synthesizing, and discussing my artwork on the other hand, is challenging and tongue-tying. As an Emerging Artist, what do I have to “Say” and why Fiber Art?
The goal for my Jerome Project Grant centered around Finding My Fiber Voice. For me that meant exploring the concept of voice and body in a literal and figurative sense. The voice connects physically, emotionally, and anatomically.
It can be silent, loud, undiscovered, tentative, hidden, revealed, projected, changed, evolved etc.
The Jerome Project Grant allowed me to participate in two professional development experiences: the Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota (WARM) Mentor/Protégé Program; and the National Basketry Organization Biennial Conference
Pictured from top left: details from Sarah Kusa, Becka Rahn, Kate Vinson, Jennifer Schultz