So thrilled to announce that I have been awarded the first Regional Artist in Residence at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky. This prestigious and highly competitive Artist in Residence program has been established for over 30 years and have hosted the likes of national and international artists Ray Metzker, Lynn Geesaman, Shinji Turner-Yamamoto, Julia Oldham, Nicholas Dowgwillo, Firat Erdim, Jaime Bull, Tomasz Domanski, Carlotta Brunetti, Hideki Kanno,and Madison Cawein to name just a few. This is an incredible honor and the recognition of my work means so much to me. It also validates the decisions I made a few years back in being less career focused and more passion driven, encouraging me to stay on this path.
Upon sharing my news, I have gotten a lot of “What exactly does that mean?” kind of questions. Generally, an Artist in Residence means that you take actual residence at a place somewhere away from your usual environment and obligations. Most often there is a fairly extensive application to submit and only a handful of artists get selected. The granted experience provides time for reflection, finding inspiration and production of (usually) an already proposed project. Some residencies cost money to stay there, others are free…some offer stipends, but most do not.
Bernheim is providing me a stipend and temporary living quarters in exchange for a work of art to be left to the Bernheim Foundation. This particular residency is also unique in that I have access to all horticulture and operations departments, as well as ecologists, scientists, naturalists and forest managers. I am also allowed admittance to most scheduled hikes and eco classes offered throughout the calendar year. I have literally been invited to become part of the entire ecosystem at this amazing place and I love how this program enhances the visitor experience through arts interaction. This is an experience/opportunity I will not be taking lightly!
I am encouraged to use this residency to further investigate, experiment, and explore new avenues in my work. My project proposal for the Artist-in-Residence program is to create a large scale, multi paneled, photographic installation for a currently undetermined space in the arboretum. The imagery will be captured during extensive exploration of the Bernheim grounds while in residency.
I currently explore the hands-on process of integrating photographic images with surfaces like wood, glass, and aluminum. I find that the substrate is just as important as the image itself and the incorporation of the two has the power to transcend the traditional boundaries of the photographic medium. I am enamored with aluminum as a substrate and have explored it thoroughly in the forms of both foil and plate. It’s shiny, reflective surface is ever changing as you move around it and the material harkens back to the vintage Tintypes of the past.
But instead of simply transferring an image onto plain aluminum, I intend to “cook” my aluminum plates to distress and age them. Cooking can be done in a handful of ways with simple gear that ranges from a dish washer to a turkey roaster as well as homemade designs using readily available materials. The agents for change are cleaning products such as Cascade and TSP. The objects I intend to use for distressing and creating unique, unduplicated patterns onto the aluminum plates are natural materials such as fallen trees, debris and plant material collected while exploring the grounds of Bernheim. Essentially I am “developing” these plates with the natural legacy of this beautiful place that I will then transfer photographic images onto. Working in this fashion lets chance intuitively dictate my work while asking the image to surrender to the process.
For more information about this process and my prior results, check out this blog post from a few months ago.
I have been staying in their artist cabin for most of April, and will be returning methodically through out the year. When I can, I’ll also be making work in the Lake Nevin Studio. If you make a trip…and I highly recommend you do…let me know…it’s likely I could be there too!
This story has only just begun my friends!