I’m excited to be showing some of the work that I completed while at MICA this past summer. I’m enrolled in their Master of Arts in Art Education program (MAAE), which is a low-residency graduate program for people like me who are teachers and prefer to do online work or work in the summer. I was in Baltimore for six weeks, attending classes M-F, 9-5, and learning about teaching and making art. Each person in the program had their own, large studio and a studio mentor who pushed us to move past our own expectations of ourselves and make work that was authentic and fresh.
Normally I work with photography in various forms, but this summer I wanted to take a step away from it and work with new materials. Wood grain has always inspired me because I love lines and patterns, especially topographic maps and fingerprints. For me there is a visual connection between these patterns and the way time and life progresses: outward/inward, one thing affecting another in a never-ending reverberation. When I first arrived at my studio in Baltimore, I wanted to explore imagery from Polish folklore and craft work, which is why the rooster/chicken showed up along the way. I also owned chickens when I was seven living in Great Barrington, MA…they were my pets because I was not allowed to have a dog in the house. When I was a little girl, my mom would read me a bedtime story that involved a large tree with a hole in it, where progressively larger animals came to live until the whole tree fell down. Somehow these memories and images swirled together and connected in my imagination.
About four years ago, I started including a grid-like pattern of squares in my paintings, if for no other reason than to have a way to start a painting if I was feeling uninspired. At MICA, I created a large, blank grid, much like a calendar, where I wanted to document impressions from each day of my stay there. When my studio professor, Katherine Kavanaugh, questioned my choice of butcher paper and suggested wood instead, I resisted, but the thought stuck and I got excited about using the graduate wood shop and all the power tools. I kept the “calendar” on the butcher paper and diligently completed a square each day (but not in linear order), but started playing with all sorts of configurations of wood blocks with interesting wood grain.
This show is part of a work in progress, as I continue my graduate studies from home during the school year. I’m exploring the idea of time and memory and how we remember our lives. I feel a strong connection to my Babcia (Polish for “grandmother”) in this work, because she had dementia and lost her sense of time and memory before she passed away. To set aside time in my studio has been so gratifying, and I’m looking forward to exploring these themes further and seeing what comes of the work.