Musings on KC Streetcar Mural

From the artist: In late spring, the Art in the Loop Foundation commissioned me, among many other artists, to create temporary work for the series of summer programming in downtown Kansas City titled Connect. With the opportunity to partner with the KC Streetcar Authority during the streetcar’s inaugural year, a mural on one of the station stops seemed a clear choice. I See Yowas installed mid-July at the northbound Power & Light stop near 14th & Main.

Art in the Loop: Connect │ Power & Light KC Streetcar Stop │ 70sf │ 2016
Art in the Loop: Connect │ Power & Light KC Streetcar Stop │ 70sf │ 2016

Since I have been itching to do more of what I call “lace portraiture,” another clear choice was before me. This piece graphically fused the nature of lace – domestic, intimate, soft – with the metaphor I see in the material of many individuals strands creating an interconnected network. In I See You, the overlapping strands of cursive text radiate out to create the profile of a figure, a self-portrait, in truth. Yet, this is portraiture not beholden to capturing the physical likeness. Rather, it captures thought, consciousness, a meditation, or at the very least, that is my intent.

Art in the Loop: Connect │ Power & Light KC Streetcar Stop │ 70sf │ 2016
Art in the Loop: Connect │ Power & Light KC Streetcar Stop │ 70sf │ 2016

I invite you to visit the Art in the Loop’s website to listen to a short clip where I spoke about the meaning of this piece during the opening reception. The description I gave there is a bit different than what I have shared anywhere else and something I felt best shared through voice.

This work references a series of drawings created from the desire to transcribe consciousness into visual form.
This work references a series of drawings created from the desire to transcribe consciousness into visual form.

One never knows how a work will be received and I am grateful that this piece seems to be appreciated. Along with Don Wilkison‘s project, aka m.o.i., (Minister of Information), I See You was featured on KCUR’s website. The Shawnee Mission Post also featured the work.

i-see-you_streetcar-detail-1s-_gardnerroe
The transparency of the mural overlays a lacy filter onto the downtown surroundings at the northbound Power & Light Streetcar stop near 14th & Main St.
i-see-you_detail-6s_gardnerroe
The layers of handwritten text were printed onto a clear adhesive vinyl. While individual words can be picked out here and there, overall, the layers render the sentences illegible. A graphic mass of thought is the result.

While this work is temporary, up through September, I will have the opportunity to share more lace portraiture through an upcoming project called Femin Is.  This launched softly on KC Art Pie, with a hard launch including a Kickstarter campaign coming in October (sign up for updates here).

So, more lace, or at least my interpretation of it, is on the way. Until then, you can join me on the 17th for an Art on the Route tour hosted by ArtsKC and the Kansas City Artists Coalition. Otherwise, you have until the end of September to view I See You as well as all the other works on the line. Then it will be like what remains of our summer: going, going, gone.

With gratitude,
Rachelle Gardner-Roe

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.

Poke A Dot – the installation you can take home

In 2014, I was awarded a commission as part of The Art in the Loop Foundation’s Downtown Street Art / Creative Placemaking Pilot Project. Among many projects, Poke A Dot was selected and is currently installed in downtown Kansas City, between 12th & 13th on the west side of Walnut St. The key thing is that if you see one of these stickers below, you can take some. Really, you can take the dots.

Detail - Poke A Dot installation, stickers, downtown Kansas City, 2014
Detail – Poke A Dot installation, stickers, downtown Kansas City, 2014

Poke-A-Dot  was originally designed as a minimalist project that respectfully acknowledged and responded to the permanent artwork “Barnacles” by Egawa + Zbyrk, while also allowing the public to actively manipulate and even possess the temporary intervention. Passers-by are encouraged to re-position the elliptical decals to form new abstract compositions and to take a few with them to create new smaller works elsewhere.

However, the curator (as well as performance and video artist) for the overall project, Jessica Borusky, recommended overlapping the installation for a week or so with the artist whose work was installed for the summer slot, Mark Allen. We loved it so much, we decided to keep it that way! See here for more insight into the curator’s takeaways from the pilot project that took place all over downtown KC this summer and fall.

Poke A Dot - installation in collaboration with artist Mark Allen, Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 2014-15
Poke A Dot – installation in collaboration with artist Mark Allen, Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 2014-15

 

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Rachelle Gardner - Poke A Dot & Mark Allen - Ethereal Waters
Rachelle Gardner – Poke A Dot & Mark Allen – Ethereal Waters

After seeing then next to Mark’s amazing underwater photographs, I began to see my dots as bubbles!

Rachelle Gardner - Poke A Dot & Mark Allen - Ethereal Waters
Rachelle Gardner – Poke A Dot & Mark Allen – Ethereal Waters

It was such a pleasure to have a spontaneous collaboration with another artist. We really enjoyed how our ideas, though planned separately, worked so well together!

Poke A Dot Label

So just remember, if you come across this installation, please feel free to take a few dots and put them wherever you like!

It was also interesting that in 2008, I completed my first ever installation, Dreamscapes, on the other side of Walnut on the exact same block, in the old Jenkins Music Co. storefronts. How many artists can say that?

dreamscapes title ltl

On a final note, Happy 2015! I wish a happy and healthy year to you all!

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.