Josie Robertson Surgery Center 4th Floor Art Walk
Medium: Woodcut print with colored inks on paper
“My Seascape woodcut prints are inspired by summers spent by the sea in Nova Scotia. They are emblematic of my lifelong love of being outdoors observing nature. I especially enjoy presenting these large-scale prints in groupings that create an immersive experience for the viewer and generate a sense of movement in the work.”
I grew up in an arts-oriented family in rural Ohio. There was no rigid line dividing life from art as I played in the surrounding woods, fields, ponds, and caves. A direct connection can be made from my early days as a curious tomboy to my current pursuits as an artist. Nature, science, art, and memory all inform my art as do frequent trips to museums. In museums I am often awed by ancient art. It reminds me that all artists are part of a continuum. For example, my woodcut process can be linked to ancient China where the first woodcut prints were made.
Medium: Screenprint on paper
“In West Texas there is an old run-down town called Sanderson. Just North of there is a ranch where I spent much time as a child and return to when I’m able. The land out there is vast and empty, timeless and quiet. It is a place to reconnect and regroup. I never make art out there, but it is where I find the most peace in my world.”
“I knew I wanted to be an artist from about the age of 9. My mother is creative and we were always making things. I received a paint by number kit for Christmas around this time and after doing a few I decided that I had no need to follow someone else’s drawing - I should do my own. So I started with that and kept going.”
For inspiration I take walks, preferably in woods and along water. Ideas seem to jump at me as I walk along and the familiar, day-to-day surroundings change with the light and the seasons.
Medium: Photograph and monotype woven
“I love the woods. I love to sit down on a boulder by a stream and listen to the water flowing and the birds singing. Or to walk a path made vibrant and mysterious by fog. Nature is a spiritual place to me. It is full of wonders, and offers space for contemplation, and a place to just be. There’s weather, time of day, seasons, high water, or low. I capture the experience by wandering along and serendipitously shooting rather random images with my digital cameras. Then later I choose interesting images to combine with intuitive, expressive brushwork, expressing my appreciation for the water and the weather.”
Medium: Acrylic on paper
“The process is something that has been developing over the years. I pour paint, let it dry, peel it off and then the paint migrates to the canvas. I look at each individual piece of paint as my brushstroke, each unique in its own, a mosaic of sorts.”
Some of my favorite painters are Cimabue and the pre-Renaissance painters. Perspective was not quite there yet and I always find these paintings magical!
Medium: Viscosity monoprint
“The piece before you is a product of process and experimentation - upcycling in the finest sense. An inking palette on a printing plate takes center stage in this piece, seemingly randomly mixed and rolled oil inks interacting with each other by being hand printed on a lightly tan printmaking paper.”
Architecture and printmaking share a set of skills that I already bring to the medium, such as thinking in layers, shapes, colors, construction, and material. The printing press beautifully transforms them all and adds the element of the happy accident to the transformation. This process eventually set free the artist inside the architect.
Medium: Digital print
“I use a lot of repetitive motif in my work, but also the accidents that happen in the making are something I value. I like to have structure that allows those accidents to happen, so I set it up that way. My goal is to speak in my own voice but to answer the call of my artist ancestors, so I base my work on what I have absorbed of all the art and craft I have seen and I measure my success against that.”
When I was three, I saw a drawing my mother made of the converted barn we lived in and something clicked. From that moment on, I wanted to be an artist.
Medium: Wallpaper mural
“Nymphaea is an image that comes out of a close study of the pool that is the center of the Aquatic Garden at Wave Hill in Riverdale. The pool itself is a place of quiet contemplation. At first, it seems remarkably still. But the longer you spend looking, the more you begin to see it spring to life. The light glimmering of the water surface, tiny insects skating across the surface, as well as a glimpse of a fish darting by in the murky depth of the pool all add to the pulse of energy in the stillness of the water. For this piece I wanted to break the experience of the water surface into abstracted components and reorganize them so that the layering on the flat surface of the wall begins to hint at the rich spatial depth of the pool itself. What at first appears as a dark water surface on closer inspection fracture into an array of constantly changing colors and patterns.”
Much of my work is driven by animation. Over the past several years, I have been focused primarily on landscape, creating digital animations drawn by hand in software. I am particularly interested in the way that our understanding of landscape shifts as our experience of life is increasingly a digital one.
Medium: Digital pigment print
“I think artist find answers in looking, observing, making and creating or at least I do.
I used to be interested in feminist issues which then became environmental issues
connecting the utopian and transitional aspects of both the urban and natural landscapes.”
My mom and brother are painters, my dad was a writer and a carpenter, my aunt is a glass artist, my uncle is a ceramic artist with a successful pottery business in Maine, and my grandmother and grandfather on my dad’s side are and were painters. I grew up around art from an early age. While I knew early on I’d be in the arts, I originally thought I’d be a ballerina or be in theatre. But I was always drawing, painting, and sketching.
Medium: Flower petal stains and graphite on paper; Plant stain and gouche on paper
“I love to garden and I love to make art, so I was delighted when I figured out a way to combine the two passions through flower staining. I rub flower petals onto paper, creating traces of their ephemeral color while containing small remnants of the flowers. Many of my drawings record what is flowering in my gardens in upstate NY and become a kind of garden diary or celebration of a moment in time.”
I wonder how to capture ephemeral experiences like a view of the sky or the beauty of a flower and translate them into something tangible in my art. In the shadow of climate change, I question how to share my concern for preserving the natural world and express that concern with my art.
Medium: Colored pencil on paper
“My drawings on paper for this project draw a parallel between the rural environment, steeped in history and nostalgia, and the nature drawings of Old Masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci. The color is used in a poetic rather than literal way. Intended as questions rather than statements about risk and responsibility, the drawings are isolated in fields of empty space that speak of deep country quiet as well as the disappearing landscape threatened by environmental instability and uncertainty.”
At the age of eight, I told anyone who would listen that I was an artist. The certainty came from my experience of the world as intensely visual combined with a child’s excitement about a blossoming facility with a paintbrush. At 13, a friend’s mother took me to see the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit at the Whitney Museum in New York City. It was at that exhibit, painted by a woman, that I had the thought that one could live one’s life differently from what I saw around me in the suburban community where I grew up — women whose lives mostly evidenced the notion that wife and mother were the primary occupations of females. I realized one could choose to live one’s life as an artist.
Medium: Color photographic print
“Nature nourishes us – it soothes the spirit and the soul. When I create an image that helps someone – even just myself – find peace, then I’ve attained my goal.”
Nature and open space inspire me to expand my visual horizons and at the same time my spiritual horizons. My motivation, always, is to reveal something that one might not otherwise see. If I can capture, for example, a pattern of shadows falling through lace and show it to people in a way that expands their perceptions and makes them more aware, then I’ve succeeded.