During the month of July 2017, I was invited to participate in an artist residency at Stadt-Salzburg via an exchange program between the Anderson Center in Red Wing and Stadt-Salzburg. The purpose of this program is to support emerging and mid-career Minnesota visual artists with a month long residency to travel abroad, and make new work. During this period the city of Salzburg sends an Austrian artist to the Anderson Center in exchange.
As I close in on the last few days here I can say that I’m feeling good about the direction of new work I have initiated while being here, and I would not have had the time and focus to do as much work if not for this opportunity. I am grateful for the concentrated time to devote to making, thinking, and contemplating other layers of my artistic practice. So much of the work I am engaged in is public facing, collaborative, or at the service of ideas or initiatives that are much larger than myself. While that is important and feeds my interests and practice broadly, it does not always directly advance my personal ideas, or narrative exploration.
I decided to take this rare opportunity to engage in very personal work, which I felt needed to be elevated and attended to (at least for myself…). It has been permission for me to delve into drawing and painting in a concentrated way, which I have always found myself returning to throughout the past 20+ years of creative production.
In my relative solitude, I’ve also had the company of visionary artists-healers, that have granted me moments of salvation from being swallowed whole by my own internal thoughts. One in particular has been Sherman Alexie, whom I took to reading after my nearly daily 1.5 mile ride to the nearest park with a basketball court to practice my jump shot, hone my mechanics, and work on the “euro-step” (still not quite there… maybe there needs to be a Hapa Step?) The other has been Adrienne Maree Brown. In her introduction to “Emergent Strategy” Adrienne Maree Brown writes:
At this point, we have all the information we need to create change; it isn’t a matter of facts. It’s a matter of longing, having the will to imagine and implement something else. We are living in the ancestral imagination of others, with their longing for safety and abundance, a longing that didn’t include us, or included us as an enemy, fright, other.
I have been thinking a lot about our historical narratives (more personally but also collectively) and how they become embodied, muscle and behavioral memory. It makes me think about memory and loss (real and abstract) as a process of fermentation. This to me is a sort of longing. Chemical, biological, mystical.
And as a parent of two beautiful, passionate, creative, bold young daughters growing up in our complex world, I have a deep desire at this moment to share with them these vibrant, sour, pungent, and deeply nuanced truths. I don’t want their pasts to be sealed from them, but rather, I want art and the stories of their parents to seed the gardens which they will grow and tend throughout their lives.
I believe art and artistic practice can be healing work, and therefore in this time and space created for me, I chose to look back in order to move forward.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
During my time in Salzburg I primarily engaged in varied forms of drawing and painting. This included traditional water based drawings and studies using gouache and Chinese ink on paper, as well as hand rendering time based digital work using a wacom tablet on the computer. Some of the themes and work revisits ideas explored in my past, completes thoughts or ideas I had wanted to purge, and more importantly opens new space for further inquiry and exploration.At this time, I feel none if this work is complete but rather expressions or sketches of what is to come.
Below are some examples of new work (in progress) produced during my residency.
“Plunge” 60 paintings and text. 2:10 min.
Various drawings in ink and gouache ranging from 12″ x 12″ to 30″ x 50″
Various images from the studio, around Salzburg, Venice, and the Austrian and German countryside.
I know there is more to reflect on and continue working through, and there will be more notes and writing to follow…