Article in Prairie Village Post

The Chamber of Commerce in my area did a piece on my work in the local Prairie Village Post.
Simply scroll down to read the article, or you can view it on the publication’s website.

Local Artist Rachelle Gardner-Roe on the fine art of balance

The recent exhibition of Gardner-Roe's work at the ArtsKC Regional Council emphasized the textile connections that can be found throughout the artist's mixed media work.

The recent exhibition of Gardner-Roe’s work at the ArtsKC Regional Council emphasized the textile connections that can be found throughout the artist’s mixed media work.

At the age of 5, if you had asked Rachelle Gardner-Roe what she wanted to be when she grew up, the answer would have been a no-brainer: an artist. We all wanted to be lots of things at the age of 5, but despite the twists and turns of life, Gardner-Roe managed to hold onto her dream.

“I ended up with a degree in interior architecture, rather than going to art school though,” she said. “The interiors portion gave me access to a full woodshop where I could build furniture. Creativity and experimentation basically made that place a sculpture studio.”

That design-build experience also helped her land her first job out of college, designing and building custom furniture at a woodshop. Still, the 5 year old inside wouldn’t stay quiet for long.

“A design education was really grounding,” she said. “It trained me to think in term of function, but I still had all these other ideas and images in my head. I had to come back to the fine arts.”

The artist has spent the last ten years fusing that foundation in design with a unique vision to cross boundaries in media. Whether it’s a 12 foot drawing of Alice in Wonderland-like vegetation, a ceramic vessel fired in a dug-out pit at the family farm, or her most recent blending of fabric and resin to create lace sculpture, Gardner-Roe puts her training and her imagination to the test. While she works in media including resin, ceramics, drawing, and painting, a textile element can almost always be found. Influenced by the passing down of handcraft through the generations, she strives to re-contextualize traditional craft.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. During her career in Kansas City, she has been awarded a studio residency from the Charlotte Street Foundation as well as multiple grants from the ArtsKC Regional Arts Council. In the last few years, she received a scholarship to study experimental sculpture near Aspen, Colorado as well as a research and development residency in the panhandle of Florida. Her work has been in exhibitions across the country from San Jose, California to Lowell, Massachusetts.

While you might expect a burgeoning artist to seek out hotspots like New York City and Los Angeles, Gardner-Roe is dedicated to the arts scene in Kansas City.

“The arts organizations here are amazing and research has shown that citizens in this region engage with the arts at a higher rate than bigger cities like New York,” she said. ”

Just this fall, the artist exhibited a solo exhibition at one of those organizations, the ArtsKC Regional Council in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District and has just released an online exhibition catalogue.

The artist currently splits her time between her home in Mission and the family farm where she works on her fabric sculpture, which lace can appear frozen in undulating curves or precise origami-like folds. Gardner-Roe occasionally pauses to focus on other bodies of work, but she has been building on this unique style of sculpture for several years.

“To be honest, I’m doing things with materials that you’re not supposed to do. I mean, lace isn’t supposed to be hard sculpture and look like metal, but hey, we all like to break a few rules, don’t we?” she said. “Luckily, as an artist, I feel it’s in my job description.”

After ten years of working as an artist, what has changed? “A few years ago, I got certified to teach yoga, which has had a lasting effect on how I work,” she said. “The work is more focused on achieving balance. When I break rules, it’s to balance very different materials to find a sort of conceptual center of gravity. Balance in life is hard to find and I have struggled just as much as anyone else. So, my work has become a metaphor for that struggle and in our busy culture, it doesn’t seem a bad to idea to encourage others to seek balance as well. I suppose that’s not in the job description for an artist, but it just might be for me.”

The artist's experimental approach to materials results in unique lace sculpture such as Rhythm No. 2A, which combines ideas regarding memory with research in the design principles behind the art of paper folding.

The artist’s experimental approach to materials results in unique lace sculpture such as Rhythm No. 2A, which combines ideas regarding memory with research in the design principles behind the art of paper folding.

No stranger to alternative methods, this detail of a nine foot lace work shows the intricate detail the artist can achieve when she uses a sewing machine to literally draw lace.

No stranger to alternative methods, this detail of a nine foot lace work shows the intricate detail the artist can achieve when she uses a sewing machine to literally draw lace.

Fiberart International 2013

Ok, so waaaay behind on blogging. That is just  how this ball of wax rolls.

Back in April, I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA for the opening reception and weekend forum for Fiberart International 2013. It. Was. Wonderful.

It was an utterly packed weekend, but it was wonderful to meet so many talented artists.


Standing next to one of two works selected for the show, Revealing Cracks Mandala   Roslyn Ritter – Love Letters This is her mother’s wedding dress, handstitched with text from her father’s love letters to her mother. Gorgeous.

Sandra Jane Heard – Vestiges of Emancipation  One of my favorite works at the show, this stunning work is constructed from vintage tape measures.


Love the depth of detail and the richness of color Susan Hotchkis creates in Once.

 
Isovel Blank – B-Side : Odd to be sure, but that is why I love it.

Some of us were asked to send a selection of process-based resource and materials from our studio practice. I sent a variety of tests, texture samples, and various little things I keep in my visual periphery. That’s also my work, Unable to Divide, to the right.

From here, I’d like to send you to Lizz Aston’s blog. She has two pieces in the show, won an award for her work, and wrote a wonderfully thorough post of the show. No sense in recreating the wheel. You can also view the entire catalog online.

Showing the Goods: The Kauffman Lecture

The day before the election, I was giving my own version of a stump speech, detailing my origins as an artist, from my early to present work, and touched on my upcoming projects.

Photo Muchos thanks to fellow artist and Inspiration Grant winner Angelica Sandoval for letting me use the awesome Kickstarter Shout-Out she made for me as the title slide of my presentation (Her Kickster was successful too! You can see her installation now in the windows of BNIM in downtown KC). Sooo much better than plain ol’ text. I love it.


I was able to cover my early work, including this piece In the Eye of the Beholder.


Of course, I went over the process of making my current work and my studies at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center.


I aim to please, so I also brought finished work as well as many random samples and experiments from the studio.

Thanks to Leslie at the Kauffman Foundation for hosting me and to the Metro Arts Council for running the Now Showing Program! I enjoy sharing my work and hope to do so again. Yay for public speaking!

It’s Alive! Superclusters Artboards Unveiled

A year in the making, the Superclusters are now on display at the Missouri Bank Crossroads Artboards at the intersection of Wyandotte and Southwest Blvd. Google Map. The images face west.

I am an amatuer space nerd, with the appropriate nerd crushes on the likes of Carl Sagan and Neal deGrasse Tyson. It is also immensely difficult to step back from the never-ending bombardment of minutue in our daily lives and bask in the knowledge that we are a part of a mind-boggling universe, so vast, mysterious and amazing that our jaws should be perpetually dropped. It is not a separate thing. It is us. We are in and of it. We are vast.

These images are dedicated to that wonder. They are representations of galactic superclusters, the largest known structure in the observable universe. Matter does not evenly disperse. Galaxies cluster together in sheets and filaments. The galaxy clusters then also cluster into a larger structure, hence a supercluster. Our Milky Way is in the Local Group of galaxies, which is a part of the Local, or Virgo, Supercluster.


Photo by NASA

This commission was awarded in 2011, which is also when the US dismantled it’s space shuttle program. In the same year, the Tevatron, once the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, was shut down. Many of the advances in technology and in our daily lives originated in space exploration research and development, so I am saddened by the loss of interest and funding in these areas on a national level. So I thought science needed a bit of advertising!

These should be up through January, so I hope you get a chance to take a look when you’re downtown!

 

Bring Your Lunch! Kauffman Foundation Lunch and Learn Artist Lecture on Monday, Nov.5th

If you’re getting anxious about the election, I would be honored to distract you with arty goodness! So before you vote on Tuesday, take some of the ‘ick’ out of Monday.
Just bring your lunch to the Kauffman Conference Center on Monday, November 5th at High Noon. I will do my utmost to regale you with my driving passion, the life-blood that keeps me going — or more humbly stated, I will give a presentation on my work.

The talk will cover a short retrospective on past work, as well as looking at the experimental processes and materials of present work (Exactly how does a student of architecture end up spending untold hours sewing lace?). I’ll also cover ongoing and upcoming projects with time for Q&A. I will also have a few work samples and experiments on hand for a bit of “show and tell.” If time and space allow, we might be able to get in a short walking tour of the works on display in the Conference Center after everyone has finished munching!

This is my first public talk in quite a while, so I’m very excited for this opportunity and I would love to see you there!

Lunch & Learn Artist Lecture – Rachelle Gardner
Monday, November 5th, 12 – 1pm
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
Brookside Room
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City MO 64110-2046

This exhibition and lecture is possible through the Now Showing Program. Many thanks to the staff at the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City for their unwavering support of local artists through the Now Showing Program and, of course, big thanks to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for participating!

 
P.S. Some  day I have to do a post on these guys – Stakeclaimers. I love the texture.

Fiberart International 2013 – Art That Travels More Than I Do

I was very excited to learn this week that two of my pieces have been accepted into  Fiberart International 2013. Sponsored by the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, these works could tour to different venues for up to two years. The first venue on the roster will be the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles (in addition to Pittsburgh, I assume). Jurors chose 81 pieces by 64 artists out of 1,200 works of art by 525 artists from 36 countries. So getting two pieces accepted is nice big shot in the arm.

The chosen works? Revealing Cracks Mandala, which has ehxibited in the 55th Chautauqua Exhibition of Contemporary Art in New York, received Honorable Mention at the Leawood Foundation Arti Gras Exhibition, and is currently on display at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center in Kansas City. So if you are in the KC area and haven’t seen this piece, drop by before December, because this puppy will be gone for a long time. I will be announcing a date for a Lunch & Learn presentation at the Kauffman Conference Center very soon, which will give you a last opportunity to see this work for quite a while and also hear about what I’ve been up to!

The other lucky traveler? Unable to Divide, recently back from Baltimore.

Because of the lengthy touring schedule, the call for artists only goes out every three years. Check out works from the 2010 show here: http://fiberartinternational.org/exhibits

On to Arkansas: Interdependencies to Exhibit in the South

textile collage

Racking it up state by state.

Interdependency #3 & Interdependency #4 were accepted into the 2012 Annual Juried Art Competition at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado, AR. The exhibition will run from July 6 – 31, 2012.

textile collage
Interdependency # 3 : cotton lace, silk, cheesecloth, thread, wood & glass beads, metal, acrylic paint

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textile collage

Interdependency # 4: silk, cotton, cheesecloth, thread, raku-fired porcelain, seeds, acrylic paint

These were fun, intuitive pieces to do. I allowed them to grow into what they wanted to be, which can be a challenge for my brain that is usually shouting, “Plan, Plan, Plan!” at the top of its mental lungs. I also used the opportunity to use some of porcelain buttons I had made quite a while ago and had been yearning to find a good use for.

One State at a time: Unable to Divide Heads to Maryland

Unable to Divide, a lace work piece in red, orange, and yellow thread has been accepted into the national juried exhibition, Fiber Options: Material Explorations, hosted by the Maryland Federation of Art.

It will exhibit in Annapolis, MD from July 19 to August 11, 2012. I was one of 65 artists chosen from over 300 entries.

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This meaning of this work draws from some of my mental struggles with incorporating tenants of yogic philosophy (I’m a certified yoga teacher, btw). While I can intellectually understand certain contepts, the practice and experience of it can be quite another thing, especially with this over-chatty brain of mine. What can I say, I’m a work in progress. 🙂

Mandala and The Chautauqua Institution (say that 5 times fast)

I recently learned that Revealing Cracks Mandala was accepted into the 55th Chautauqua Exhibition of Contemporary Art hosted by The Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution. There were over 400 entries submitted and only 24 pieces were chosen by 17 artists.

The Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI) includes the Chautauqua School of Art, the galleries of the Strohl Art Center, the Fowler-Kellogg Art Center, the Melvin Johnson Sculpture Garden and a visual arts lecture series.

The juror who selected my work is quite distinguished, so I’m honored to be a part of this show.

From http://www.ciweb.org:

“VACI, the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, is pleased to announce that renowned critic, curator and author Kim Levin is the juror for Chautauqua’s 55th Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art. Levin has organized numerous exhibitions in venues throughout the United States as well as in Denmark, Germany, Japan, Korea, Norway, and Poland. She has written frequently for publications including The New York Times, ArtNews , Art in America, Art Journal, Sculpture, Connoisseur, and many others. She was a regular contributor to The Village Voicefor more than twenty years and has been Contributing Editor ofArts Magazine and New York correspondent for Flash Art and Opus International.

President Honoraire of the International Association of Art Critics, Levin is author of Beyond Modernism: Essays on Art from the ‘70s and ‘80s (Harper Collins), and Editor of Beyond Walls and Wars: Art, Politics, and Multiculturalism (Midmarch Press) and she conceived and co-edited Art Planet: A Global View of Art Criticism (AICA Press). Among her many honors are the Art/World Award for Distinguished Newspaper Journalism and the SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) fellowship for criticism presented by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She was selected as a Fellow for the Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program and has written catalogue texts for many museum exhibitions in the United States as well as exhibitions ranging from the Centre Georges Pompidou and Moderna Museet Stockholm to the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Yokohama Museum.”

Whew! So in June, Mandala will be off on its own to New York in time for the Opening Reception on June 24, 2012, 3-5 p.m., at the Strohl Art Center (show runs from June 24–July 12).

The Chautauqua Institution is really a unique and amazing place. Check out pics of their beautiful buildings & spaces here: http://www.ciweb.org/vaci-galleries/ and the video below.

Mindpool 2012 Juried Exhibition

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Mindpool 2012: Where streams of consciousness collect. An exhibit of artwork that was created relying heavily on intuition. When artists allow the element of risk into their creative process, the opportunity for surprise is increased. Sometimes these surprises are called happy accidents.
Juror: Kara Duncan of Vertigo Art Space

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My selected piece is titled Thought Splatter. My work is usually planned, planned, planned. So I took this as a little challenge. My intent was to throw down thoughts in the form of threads. I spontaneously stitched a free-form paint splatter and free-motion stitched my stream-of-conscious thoughts onto water soluble stabilizer. Water, of course, dissolved all those thoughts into a undiscernible web.

To attach it to the prepared canvas with a bit of “float” space, I borrowed my boyfriend’s method* of decorating chocolate covered strawberries, ie., I filled a plastic sandwich baggie with molding paste, snipped a corner, and squeezed a thick line along the edges.

*Note: Boyfriend does not advocate using molding paste to decorate strawberries. “Pro tip,” as he would say.