An enjoyable, short-notice project came my way in the fall of 2022! I was invited to create a piece interpreting a fellow artist’s work at the Loveland Museum for an exhibit Artists Visage Artists (October 9, 2022 – January 29, 2023). Generally projects like this aren’t conducive to my work, but since I was paired with abstract painter Jennie Kiessling, who is also a great friend, I jumped at this opportunity! It’s a small gem of a show, with eight artists each creating one piece for a small gallery.
I’d been pondering for quite awhile on how to incorporate text into my work, but didn’t have a clear vision. This challenge provided clarity since Jennie had been working with altered books. I spent time exploring her Instagram feed (@newpractice) where she posts most of her work, and I quickly new what I would do since one piece captured my attention and really struck a chord with me.
I created the zinc objects in my studio, then headed out one evening to install them, hoping to capture colors reflected on the metal that I knew had a good chance of occurring as the sun descended below the horizon. The light changed quickly and was soon gone, so I had to work fast. This was a rare installation for me in which I had a plan, usually I go out without one and see what happens with the conditions. I wasn’t sure if I would get into flow in the same way I usually do, but I did! The results were not unexpected, but there were also joyous surprises.
Jennie created a piece inspired by the art of Sol LeWitt to interpret what I do. (on the left in the photo above, look closely because it is barely there as Jennie intended) I was so thrilled, being a fan of his work, plus Jennie and I have bonded over our affinity of 20th century abstract art and its influence on what we create. Museum staff executed Jennie’s instructions for painting the piece directly on the wall. Depending on where a person stands in the gallery, the piece appears and disappears, and once the exhibit is taken down it will be painted over, only existing as photographs just like my work is. Since my art work has roots in painting billboards and murals as a teenager (all but one long since painted over), it’s a bit poetic that Jennie chose LeWitt as inspiration for this piece.
My statement about the piece I created, interpreting Jennie and her art:
“Through a dedicated practice in abstraction, Jennie Kiessling’s work reflects her impeccable study and masterful execution of line. Her exploration in text of the immigrant experience with her Italian family history creates a line through humanity that is specific to Jennie but resonates with many, connecting generations and cultures.”
Jennie’s statement about the piece she created, interpreting me and my art:
“The humbleness of the work in its process of appearing quietly in the landscape – her photo documentation of the image that manifests on the land – and then the quiet removal to leave no trace – means one is either fortunate to see it occur or may encounter a photo or video of a later date as proof of its existence. The last option is that the viewer will never see it at all – but it will have existed. The work appears and disappears. It is an illusion. Not performative, not permanent, not an object, not an action…Jennifer is truly one of the few artists who manifests emptiness in her work.”
The curatorial statement about the exhibit:
“How does and artist envision the world around them? What is your artistic persona? How does your own sense of self merge with or divert from an artistic interpretation? These insightful works of art answer these questions and pose even more.
Artists often explore the characteristics that determine our personal and social identity. Artist Cindy Sherman uses portraits and self-portraits to explore identity. But instead of documenting her own look, she takes on other people’s looks. By dressing up and posting as other people, she creates a changed identity. The constraint of image is contextualized by the narrative the artist presents. As the artist’s creative output, it is rooted in identity, but since it concurrently functions through symbolic understanding, ultimate control is exterior to the artwork. This dichotomy of manipulation and interpretation carries forward to an artist’s perception by others in their circle. Identity is crafted as an exchange of ideas that depends upon the perception of someone else. Identity can be modeling of the face, the intricacy of a person’s artistic output, the masking – or revealment – of an individual’s history. The potential is as limitless as the unique nature of the individual.
Regional artists were invited to pair together and create visions of each other to explore the range of how they are perceived and how they wish to be perceived. Representational, abstract, minimal, conceptual, symbolic – all approaches and mediums were encouraged. Experience the broad range of artists let loose.”