NEW BERLIN – On Wednesday three artists celebrated the end of their four weeks at the Golden Residency with open studios. Visitors were able to sip on wine and sample cheese and crackers as they perused the artwork on display. It was also an opportunity to speak with the artists and learn about the artistic process.
All of the artwork was very unique to each artist, though there was a commonality in the use of the vibrant Golden paints.
Jessalyn Haggenjos is from San Francisco and explained that her work is inspired by land use issues and the issue of man made versus natural. The problem of contaminates in the soil is reflected in her work. Her pieces serve as both art and a starting point for conversation and education about the negative impact mankind has on the earth. She explained how she “lives on noxious, brown soils,” which served as her inspiration.
When asked how the residency has influenced her work Haggenjos spoke of the green, lush surroundings of central New York.
“I can see the colors reflected in the work,” she said. “I can see it merging, especially the color.”
All of her paintings in the studio are of rocks and landscapes and are vibrant and swirling with color. When one learns about the inspiration for her paintings, the paintings become both beautiful and disturbing when one realizes the impact of toxins on the soil.
Haggenjos loved her experience at the residency and explained that the best part was having unlimited resources in which to experiment, “unlimited materials led to unlimited explorations.”
“I've created geodes out of plastic paints that are still pliant and fluid, but with a hard structure,” Haggenjos said.
She used acrylic as a pouring medium for her paintings at the residency. The acrylic has been a change for her because in San Francisco she often uses paints that are toxic and speak to the polluted landscapes she references in her work. While at the residency there were “none of the noxious fumes” that she normally experiences.
Ruth Hiller came from Colorado to participate in the residency and worked on her body of work entitled, “Soft Geometry.” Her work is all based on geometric scales and reflects how overwhelmed she feels by technology.
“My work is my language to take everything and make it minimalistic,” Hiller said.
Hiller's go-to medium is pigmented beeswax, which is formally called encaustic. It's a thick and translucent material that she applies and scrapes to get the finish and look she wants. At the residency she did a great deal of experimenting and pouring.
“I used a lot of molding paste to make the base,” she explained. After the base was made she used the acrylic and applied many layers.
“It's been a great opportunity to have the technicians show me everything,” Hiller said.
As implied by the title, her work is very geometric in pattern, and sometimes stark. Her use of bright colors adds warmth and many of her pieces allow the texture of the wood to show through.
Kristin Texeria resides in Brooklyn and uses her artwork as a means in which to reflect on the past. Primarily an oil painter, she also experimented while at the residency. With an upcoming show in Denver entitled “Framework,” many of her paintings capture a moment in the past when she was inside looking outside. This window theme is reflected in her work as there is a strip that is not painted that lines the rectangular outer edge of all of her paintings.
“My work is based on memory and time,” Texeria said. “It's preserving a memory and retelling. These paintings are abstract but come from something real.”
Often she keeps a journal with her to remember the specific moment that she is referencing in the painting. Under some of her paintings she includes a written snapshot of the moment or a poem.
“It's a moment that I'm translating into color. I think in color. I taste in color,” she said. “Color is my vocabulary.”
Texeria has enjoyed the residency experience and said she appreciated having access to so many new textures and materials. A few of her paintings involve a collage of different pieces of wood from a nearby barn that vary in size, color and texture.
For her, art is like a science experiment in which she is always discovering something new and finding different ways to interpret the world around her.
“It's a dream come true,” she said of the overall experience.
The next open studios are scheduled for Aug. 27, which will feature the works of new artists-in-residence. Artists looking to apply for the 2015 residency must do so by the Sept. 15 deadline. Visit goldenfoundation.org for more information.