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.

The Grand Opening of the New Studio!!

Local Artist, Rachelle Gardner-Roe, Opens Studio & Gallery

Grand opening of gallery space and open studio weekend features inaugural exhibition, Making of Self

StudioRMG03aS80-1/2 x 66 x 5", ink on crochet lace bedspread, 2014

Following a fire in the building of her former studio, local artist, Rachelle Gardner-Roe, relocated near UMKC and Rockhurst University to rebuild. Almost a year later, she is pleased to announce the opening of her new gallery and studio space to the public for a grand opening and open studio weekend on the second Friday of November. The inaugural exhibition, Making of Self, features textile and drawn works that explores consciousness, as well as our connection between the everyday and the sublime. Through the use of writing and lacework, the artist’s newest work utilizes traditional meditation techniques in the creation of contemplative self-portraiture, textile sculpture, and hinted landscapes.

“Having a space like this creates new possibilities in creating work, but also in engaging the public with an artistic process. Whether through exhibitions, studio visits, or educational programming that I hope to offer in the future, I feel that I can contribute in a meaningful way to the local community,” says Gardner-Roe. “In any case, this place is a small, but hard-fought dream of mine.”

The Opening Reception will be on Friday, November 14, 6-9pm, with
Open Studio hours running: Saturday, November 15, 12-5pm and on
Sunday, November 16, 1-4pm.

Studio RM Gardner
1017 E. 55th St.
Kansas City, MO 64110

About the Work:

Process is integral in the creation and understanding Gardner’s work. She works in various media – textiles, resin, ceramics, drawing, and painting; sometimes combining media, sometime not. Attentive to the passing down of knowledge and handcraft from one generation to another, she is especially interested in working with concepts of awareness and consciousness. Physical processes and materials become vital parts of this story. Material becomes metaphor. Process becomes transformation. Dissolving, revealing, and encapsulating become reflections of the human state in subtle form – the relationship with one’s self, others, our environment and existence. Gardner-Roe’s goal is to create work that sparks reflection and self-awareness, in the hope of advocating for compassion and a better quality of life experience for all.

About Rachelle Gardner-Roe:

Rachelle Gardner-Roe grew up outside a small town south of Kansas City, Missouri. While hearing the artist’s call at an early age, she developed a knack for drafting and received her undergraduate degree in Interior Architecture from Kansas State University. She worked as a woodworking and design apprentice before inevitably being drawn back to the fine arts. As a mixed media artist, her practice includes ceramics, painting, woodworking, resin, and an emphasis on textiles. Her work has been included in international exhibitions and she continues to exhibit nationally. Among other honors, Gardner-Roe has received multiple Inspiration Grants from the ArtsKC Regional Council, Kansas City, MO; The Presidential Scholarship from The Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO; The Urban Culture Project Residency, Kansas City, MO, and an Escape to Create Residency of Seaside, FL. Gardner-Roe resides in Mission, KS. For more information on the artist’s work, visit www.rmgardner.com.

Phoenix Rising (in form of new studio)

Some of you may recall that I lost my art studio to an electrical fire back in December. 😦  The smoke damage was worse than the fire itself!

fire 1

Fast forward a few months, and things have turned around. I’ve found a new studio space that will double as a small gallery for my work. It will take months of remodeling to make this happen, but I’m excited to get going. Just south of Rockhurst University and UMKC, I’m joining a mini-enclave of artists who are trying to bring more arts to the local community. Studio RM Gardner is located at: 1017 E. 55th St. Kansas City, MO 64110

before pic

Before Pic (I’d love to show the after, but it’s going to take a while).

If you’re in the KC area, I will be open for Second Fridays (6-9pm) throughout the construction.  And yes, I am working there in the meantime. Here are some detail shots of the textile quilt collage (Quillage anyone?) work I’ve been doing in the last few months.

text inter 1Detail text inter 2Detail text inter 3

 

The Fresh Goods: New Cast Lace Work

Putting my Anderson Ranch Studies to the test, I have been busy making the first new lace works and I want to share them with you! These are the first mid-sized works on the way to working larger in scale.

These works use three main techniques. This first vessel uses what I call gravity casting, which allows for free form shaping.

Gravity Vessel #1
12 x 10.75 x 7.75″

In the Memory Records below, I cast resin in a highly detailed mold, which was made at Anderson Ranch. Learning a technique used by my teacher, Lynn Richardson, I carefully remove the piece before it has finished curing, allowing it to deviate from its initially flat existence (I do leave some flat though). While from the same mold, no one piece is exactly alike.

each 8 x 8 x variable depth (1/8 – 1 7/8″)

For an installation, they would hang in concert, but be available individually. This is the one examples where physical lace or thread is not used, but represented as subject matter.

For the following works, I’m working with two casting techniques. The lace is initially cast over a form and then I use gravity casting to build additional layers and texture. Mm, mm, MMM. I do love texture.

Pillar of… (#1)
23.5 x 6.5 x 2.5″
  

Pillar of… (#2)
24 x 6.5 x 2.5″
  

Parabolic Triptych
each approx 11 3/4 x 11 7/8 x 3/8″; overall 11 3/4 x 40 x 2 1/2″

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

LAST Day to Make Lace Sculpture Happen! Every Bit Counts!

Today is the day. Down to the wire.

I have until 11:59 tonight to raise $355 for my lace sculpture project on Kickstarter or it will not receive any funds. That is the nature of Kickstarter and it is to ensure that your pledges go towards the full project as you were promised.

As I’m finishing up the last lace samples to test the casting process, I hope you will check out the project, join the project’s backers in whatever way you can, and share this with whomever might be interested in the project. Enough people making even $5 or $10 pledges can make this happen!

Without funding, I will have to subsidize this phase of the project with funds intended for  a dedicated studio, needed due to the scale and technique of casting. This means I will know HOW to make the work, but won’t be able to actually make it!

WHY PLEDGE?
One day you could walk into an exhibition and know that YOU were a part of making it a reality; YOU made it possible (and if there is a program or catalog, you will receive credit for it). The end goal is to bring full scale, lace sculpture exhibitions to local and regional art centers. This is the first step to getting there,  but only if we can bring other people along and raise $355 by tonight!

Pledge to the Aspen Adventure: Casting Lace Sculpture

I hope my next post includes a massive, grinning from ear to ear thank you.

Samples for Casting – Preparing for the Aspen Adventure

While I focus on lace, I have incorporated felt into that lace, which will be a component of some of the tests I will do at The Anderson Ranch Arts Center. To find out more about my project to cast lace sculpture, please check out THE ASPEN ADVENTURE on Kickstarter.

An example of such felt lace can be see in Seeing the Signs. While it can appear opaque, a bit of back light proves otherwise.

I am certain this sheer play of felt, thread and color can go farther, so one of my samples that I have prepared for my time at The Anderson Ranch Arts Center includes this technique to test translucency in the casting process.

This sunshine yellow hand-dyed wool absolutely glows when back-lit.

But is a yummy sunshine yellow even when it’s not back lit! I included hints of melon and orange  wool for accents as well. Just for flavor.

If you haven’t seen my Kickstarter page to help fund my project at The Anderson Ranch Arts Center this summer, please check it out!

Just for kicks, here is where all that bright, colorful wool comes from!

Baaaaaaaaaa!