A PLACE FOR ME TO FIGURE IT OUT.
Untitled 2017, Mixed media, 62x45x10”
I come from a small, rural town in northern California where the phrase “conceptual art” is not used commonly. In fact, it wasn’t until halfway through my first year at Cornish College of the Arts that I began to understand what conceptual art was or meant. Nevada County, California, has a wonderfully supportive, localized arts community, but what I knew of visual arts before I left largely surrounded representational painting and sculpture that more closely aligned itself with craftsmanship than it did conceptualism. I myself mainly practiced figurative acrylic painting until coming to Seattle.
Growing up on a ranch amidst an agricultural environment, people gave me quizzical looks when I told them that I wanted to be an artist and got to school for visual arts. This declaration was always followed by the question, “What’s your backup plan?” because it had not yet occurred to them that art and innovation are the foundations of culture. Since I began studying at Cornish, my eyes have been opened to new ways of thinking and making. In fact, I barely used a paintbrush for my first three years at school. Instead, I explored new processes and ways of making like plaster molding, site-specific installation, performance, photography, and crocheting as ways of expressing concepts and evoking thought.
My BFA exhibition will now consist of a series of sculptures that combine all of my successes from my time at Cornish. The work is about finding balance materially in order to express the internal search for balance. Materially the work consists of lumber, crocheted yarn, and paint. These elements are intertwined to find unlikely relationships. For instance, a painted sculpture made of lumber is held up by a crocheted piece that is attached to the wall (see photo below). Without the yarn the wood would fall over and without the wood the yarn would hang on the wall purposelessly. Symbolically, the piece reflects a state of mind where I felt that my foundations, my solid, physical self, was falling apart and heading towards the concrete only to be held aloft by my softer more malleable self, aka mind. Boom, in four years I went from California Cowgirl who paints to understanding and making conceptual art.
So, why should people come to the exhibition? I want people to come to the exhibition to see the accumulation of four years of study resulting in artworks that not only show skill and craftsmanship, but critical thinking and culture. It is a tribute to the students who decided to dedicate themselves to a practice that is met with quizzical looks and awe, a practice where there is no boss telling you your duties but instead requires you to challenge yourself to be successful, and a practice that can enact change in the psychology of a society.
This exhibition is not only a representation of Cornish College of the Arts, but also a representation the new generation of artists who will go forward and influence the culture of the world.