Reflecting on the Artist in the House Galley show in the fall of 2022, featuring the work of Associate Artists Ann Neslen and Kim Yourick, led me to wonder : Where do we come from and where do we find belonging?
The word, place, signifies a container for the landscape of our lives. The landscapes of our inner lives and the lands that hold us are the focus of both of these artists' work. It was a pleasure and a challenge to work with two artists whose work thematically addresses similar issues yet visually work in very different ways. Weaving the common threads and desires of both bodies of work resulted in a surprising and moving exhibition. ~ Pam
Kim Yourick observes the changing seasons of the landscape of her home through a lens of abstraction and juxtaposition of color, texture and shape. The essence of this land is revealed in a color field of emotion and energy. Her intention is to create images that bring one into presence in the moment while opening up to a vastness of time and place. Her landscapes are timeless, yet her marks are unique and hold the human touch.
A Winters Journey, 2020.
Kim Yourick's artist statement:
“With my work, I attempt to capture a moment in time, particularly in nature, when we experience an overwhelming sense of color, gesture, distance, and mood that is not easily described in words. This would be an emotional moment when one is touched by visual beauty that a camera cannot capture. I do much of my painting in plein air to record these moments. I would like to connect the viewer of my work with enjoying being present with their sense of color and movement, and for that experience to be vibrant and steady anytime they want to have it. I do strive, in much of my work, to leave the viewer with a feeling of vastness, hope, and wondering about what lies ahead. My wish is that this visual experience will provide regular respite to the stress and strain of daily life.”
Ann Neslen explores memory, time, loss and family rituals in her work. Often using the book structure as a container for these narratives, Neslen weaves themes of potent family memories. Her personal exploration is a quest for understanding of how meaning attaches itself to home. The artist moves from the book to the wall in pieces like Threadbare and Latent Time, to express deep concerns of what it means to be human in a chaotic world. In Lost in Translation, a book made of paper clay and elements from the natural world, she dives into symbols and materials from a world long gone, yet wired into our beings. Ann combines materials and forms from the natural world and from the domestic space weaving fabric, paper and thread. She holds up traditional women's work as sublime works of art, making the ordinary, extraordinary.
Lost in Translation, 2021.
Ann Neslen artist statement:
There is something universal about the need to make one’s experiences known; real. Ordering objects and books of unusual shapes and forms, all of this challenges what a book can be. I think of my collection of books, thread, and plaster paintings as pieces of the same textural themes. My work shares muted colors, softness, and a sense of still life—hoping the viewer will feel those fleeting moments of home, in solitude, in tension—and take a pause in it. Using plaster as paint challenges what one does with paints. My work has stretched my bookbinding and painting skills as I used unconventional materials, and attempted to make art out of ordinary things.
The hope is that as viewers see this collection, there will be something that speaks to their own memories, ascension, loss, or unwritten future. We share many things. Perhaps you have some of these same materials floating around your own home. This project has been grounded in its message of connection, place, and subtlety.
Waters run deep through all these works, carrying us as viewers through time, personal experience and contemporary life. Shown together, the conversations between these works pull us between the natural world and domesticated spaces we humans must traverse and inhabit. Here, in this show, the viewer finds a space to contemplate the natural landscape of the Ag Reserve in concert with the domesticated spaces where we rest, gather and love. A particular sense of place we can all recognize and hold.