I have been invited to participate in a themed exhibition entitled “Gestation” which will be shown at Bend Art Center/Atelier6000 here in Bend, Oregon along with twenty plus other artists from the region. Besides the theme there are specific exhibition guidelines which include: 30” x 84” hand-made Japanese paper, limited palette with grays on bottom half of the piece, creams on the top half and the work will hang vertically.
Even though I signed on to the exhibit because the challenge intrigued me, once it got down to the nitty gritty of starting the work, I had moments of panic and even woke up in the middle of the night thinking about what I was going to do. I was weirdly nervous about bringing my vision of the theme and the guidelines together. How would I transfer my interpretation of gestation to the surface of a 30” x 84” piece of Japanese rice paper? Also, the size of the paper created a unique problem of how and what process of printmaking to use when printing the piece.
My printmaking press is 30 x 60 so I knew tearing the paper down would be one way to work with the size if I wanted to use my press. Printing larger pieces is already problematic, logistically, so the size requirement of this project encouraged me to go beyond my traditional methods of printing. Even though guidelines may appear restrictive, they challenge us to experiment and look beyond our own self imposed boundaries. For me, guidelines lead to some wonderful new discoveries in concepts and techniques.
When it comes to themed exhibitions, I tend to overanalyze to the point of creative exhaustion. All this deliberation happens in my head and then small sketches begin to take form. One idea leads to another, but ultimately, the overall concept moves further from the heart of what my work expresses and becomes personally removed. For some artists that works, but I want my concepts to be personal expressions.
When I first began thinking about concepts for this exhibition. I overthought and avoided the studio for a while because I did not know where to start. I eventually ventured into my creative space and chose to go in with my focus being, experimentation. What transpired went in a whole other direction than my initial “heady” ideas. Personal intuition took over which is how I usually end up approaching my work when I finally let go of the practical side of my brain. I am so grateful when this kind of opportunity comes along to expand my creative horizon. Below is my Gestation Exhibition artist statement and a few process images. The images exhibit how I moved the pieces around like a puzzle. I was able to do this because the work was in four sections. The last image is the final piece.
Gestation Artist Statement: I am not a planner when it comes to creating in the studio. My intuitive nature is how I allow my subconscious to reveal itself. For this project, I entered my studio with a sense of wonder. I set aside my hesitation and negative self talk and took some creative risks. The trust I needed in order to proceed, showed up as I moved into a mode of discovery through experimentation. Some ideas worked, some did not. In the end, the overall results surprised and inspired me. My creative gestation.
Throughout our lives, there appear incoherent elements that float around our internal and external environment. Those elements consciously and subconsciously follow us wherever we go. It is not until we are awakened to our true selves that we realize the significance of those seemingly incoherent parts. Those elements began to weave themselves into our persona, our being and make us whole. Life’s gestation.