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One Weekend, Two Shows

Penland has not one but two groups of super-talented artists living and creating on campus: our resident artists and our core fellows. And next weekend, they will put on not one but two gorgeous shows to display their recent creations. Mark your calendar down for the evening of October 9, and mark down the afternoon of October 10 as well. Both openings will be well worth attending.

 

Core show poster

 

Personal Effects: Core Show 2015
Opening Reception October 9, 8:00-11:00pm, Northlight Hall

Personal Effects brings together pieces by Penland’s nine talented core fellows: Jamie Karolich, Joshua Kovarik, Meghan Martin, Emily Rogstad, Tyler Stoll, Elmar Fujita, Daniel Garver, Morgan Hill, and Bryan Parnham. The core fellows design and curate the show, and it’s a rare opportunity for them to display the sum of all the thinking, learning, and creating they do in their individual classes and studio practices.

If you can’t make the opening (or you just want a second look), the core show will also be open to the public from 12:00-6:00pm on October 10 and 11 and from 4:00-6:00pm on October 12 and 13.

 

promotional image for the upcoming resident artist show

 

The Barns: 2015
Opening Reception October 10, 4:30-6:30pm, Gallery North

The Barns: 2015 will be the first opportunity to see work from Penland’s current group of resident artists all together. Our newest residents Dean Allison, Maggie Finlayson, Seth Gould, and Tom Jaszczak will display their work alongside that of Annie Evelyn, Andrew Hayes, Mercedes Jelinek, and Jaydan Moore, who joined the program a year ago. The show will reflect the varied interests and talents of our residents, with works in cast glass, clay, metal, and photography alongside furniture, printmaking, and mixed media sculpture.

The Barns: 2015 will be on view this fall in Penland’s Gallery North from October 6 through November 15. Students and guests on campus are encouraged to stop by during their visits.

 

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Penland’s Core Fellowship (Applications due Oct 15)

Core fellows got their name because they are at the very core of the Penland community. They are fully engaged with life at the schoolthey take classes, work in their own studios, live together on campus, and keep the school running alongside Penland’s staff. It’s a pretty special and unique opportunity for emerging artists, and most core fellows find that their two years here are transformative in ways they didn’t even anticipate.

Here’s how some past core fellows have described the experience in their own words:

Amanda Thatch

 

“I have learned so much about so many different materials and so many different approaches to art and living in community. Because I make things, I get to have experiences that I would never be able to have otherwise. As a core student, I’ve been able to take fourteen Penland classes in two years. That’s a pretty incredible gift.”  Amanda Thatch

 

 

Daniel Beck

 

“We work so closely together and influence each other so much that the program is like an idea factory. It’s definitely a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We work hard, but we get a lot for it. I find that the work makes me feel more integrated into the whole school.”  Daniel Beck

 

 

 

Courtney Dodd

 

“I learned so much from being exposed to different teachers and different ways of doing things. I also learned about many things other than craft or art: I learned about landscaping and cooking, for instance, and, more than anything else, about communicating with other people. I think I’ve grown more in the past two years than in any other time of my life.”  Courtney Dodd

 

 

Jack Mauch

 

“My time as a core student has been seminal in every regard. I have grown immensely in my understanding of material and process, and in the sophistication of my artistic vision. I have lived, worked, and learned with people who have had a profound impact on me, and whose influence I will carry forever. I have had the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and the most cups of coffee.”  Jack Mauch

 

 

Rachel Mauser

 

“Being a core fellow at Penland is an incredible blend of being an artist, a staff member, a student, and living in a very close community. Everything is intense: so much more than I think it normally would be. Living with the other core fellows and learning from themas artists, as colleagues, as peoplehas been amazing.”  Rachel Mauser

 

 

 

If the Core Fellowship Program piques your interest, then mark down October 15, 2015 on your calendar. That’s when applications for next year’s core fellowships are due. For more information, visit the Core Fellowship page.

 

 

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A walk in the woods with Eleanor Annand

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Eleanor Annand, detail from “Isolate,” scribed and abraded drawing on paper (see below for image of the whole work).

 

An artist goes for a walk in the woods. One foot, and then another. It’s a form of precision. “You walk with a reasonable, natural rhythm; let it be natural, just as with the breath,” says the Buddhist meditation master and scholar Chögyam Trungpa, describing the practice of walking meditation. The artist walks. She observes her weight, her step, its repetition. She looks at the world around her and notices, also, the interior.

 

This is one way to think about artist Eleanor Annand’s recent body of work, completed at a time when she was researching meditation and walking—and taking many walks and hikes herself. A former Penland core fellow, Annand now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, and sustains a busy life as a full-time graphic designer. And so, to the dreamy image of an artist walking in the woods, we have to add another image to the story of Annand’s process: the artist wakes up early, goes down to her basement with her tea—and creates before the workday begins. “I don’t binge on creative time,” she says. “I prefer more of a slow and steady approach. A couple of quiet hours in the morning are ideal.”

 

Annand’s current work, on view until May 11 at the Penland Gallery, is made up of paintings on steel and works on paper. The steel pieces are coated with approximately four layers of enamel spray paint. The paper, coated with ten to twelve layers of paint on top of a layer of gesso. After the coated field is dry, Ele uses a scribe to make her low-relief mark. Marks, we should say—Annand’s works are often tidal surges of mark making (and abraded marks)–a discipline attached to the precise and generative act of seeing that can be experienced in meditation.

 

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Eleanor Annand, “Isolate”

 

But Annand does not expect you to approach her painting and be enlightened. (Neither does she expect this as an end-result of her own process.) On this point she is clear-eyed. “I see most things in life as grey,” she says, “not black and white. These works aren’t about an incident but about the general emotion I carry from something.” Annand pauses and takes a sip of chai between thoughts. “There is not an answer in my work, but an acceptance. Not a wanting.”

 

How did Annand, trained in graphic design and letterpress, arrive at this steady point as an artist? Annand took her first workshop—in weaving—at Penland while still in college. Later, after working in graphic design for several years with clients like IBM, Annand took a break from professional life to get back into her hands by taking a fall 2009 workshop in Penland’s print studio. At this point, she applied for and received the two-year Penland core fellowship.

 

This was 2010. Annand’s first eight-week workshop as a core fellow was with printmaker Phil Sanders. “All of my work was figurative at the time,” she remembers. Sanders would open the workshop with an hour or two for individual drawing time, and he would orbit the room, witnessing. She recalls him pointing to a moment of abstraction in one of her figurative drawings, and saying something to the effect of ‘I think you’re more interested in what’s happening here.’ He was right—Annand’s work has moved, over the years, toward the abstract. “I still won’t commit myself to letting go of the figures,” she says. “I think that they are moving toward a different part of what I make, in illustration.”

 

To pay attention to what you’re doing—this is the most important thing I learned from Penland, adds Annand. To pay attention leads to true expression. Having a healthy sense of self-awareness has led me to make work I believe is authentic and honest.

 

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Eleanor Annand, “Pyre,” painting on steel

 

Our conversation wanders back to walking, how the rhythm of walking sharpens and creates an attention to the rich periphery. She mentions her painting, “Pyre” (above).

 

“It’s not like I walked into the woods and found a pyre and decided to recreate it,” Annand smiles. “It’s about introspection, and making honest marks. I’m sure that something on my walks, some kind of distraction, helped bring the form inside.”–Elaine Bleakney

 

 

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Studio Visit: Will Lentz

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I’m up at the wood kiln if you guys want to meet…

said core fellow Will Lentz’s email. So we caught up with Will and the winter clay residents outside, joyfully unloading the kiln on a cold sunny day back in February. A long table was set out for the bounty.

Fast forward (about the length of three snows) when Will and I met to talk about the winter, which he spent–in part–working for former core fellow Jason Bige Burnett in Burnett’s Bakersville studio. Jason, Will noted, had been giving Will assignments, infusing Will’s winter with another space for intention and exploration. In particular, Will had been ruminating on box forms he’s been making–an opportunity for “release from the surface,” new design, and interconnectivity.
lentzBut Will’s winter wasn’t all about the box–he also dipped into vigorous making, testing out the possibility of producing a line of shapely ceramic mugs with a racer stripe. Café racers. As Will raced to unload the wood kiln, he chatted with the winter residents, thoroughly enjoying objects in the light.
 

Top photograph by Robin Dreyer. Photograph of mugs from Will Lentz’s Instagram account. Writing by Elaine Bleakney.

 

 

 

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Eleanor Annand at the Penland Gallery | April 4 – May 11, 2014

Penland Gallery’s first Focus exhibition of the year opens Friday, April 4, with Eleanor Annand: Drawing and Painting. Working on steel and paper, Annand makes paintings and drawings where the mystery of emotional experience is dispatched and–in keen marks scribed into layers of paint–intensely explored.

 

Eleanor Annand, Pyre,
Pyre, painting on steel, 36 x 30 x 1.5 in.

 

 

My process requires focus, time and presence, three things that in today’s world are not easy to come by. The works in this exhibition employ the use of repetition as a means to clear my mind and allow for focus. My intent is to translate complex emotions into marks on paper and steel that communicate raw honesty. Some of the pieces also use simplified symbols to reinforce these emotions. I believe, that though we do not encounter the same things in life, we do share similar experiences. These common themes create connections we can use to find deeper understanding in one another. In this work I am offering my honesty and rawness of emotion as an extended hand to my audience.–Eleanor Annand

 

Eleanor Annand, Pyre, detail
Pyre, detail

 

All works included in Eleanor Annand: Drawing and Painting are viewable and available for purchase online at the Penland Gallery.

 

Eleanor Annand, Failed Logic,
Failed Logic, painting on steel, 24 x 24 x 1.5 in.

 

eleanorannandEleanor Annand grew up on the southern tip of the coast of North Carolina. She received her Bachelors of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University where she focused on typography and letterpress. After a range of design and letterpress experience from IBM to Yee-Haw Industries, between North Carolina and Colorado, she landed in the Core Fellowship program at Penland School of Crafts. In the Core program Eleanor investigated printed, drawn, carved, and painted lines on paper, metal and enamel. In 2012 she relocated to Asheville, NC where works as an artist and designer. Her work is on display at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in Asheville and Light Art + Design in Chapel Hill, NC.

 
 

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Studio Visit: Molly Kite Spadone

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Core fellow Molly Kite Spadone was in Penland’s cool lower clay studio this winter, making, among many other things, large porcelain fermentation crocks. (Part of the crock’s mold is pictured with Molly at right.) The crocks have a long, tissue-thin wall that feels impossibly solid.

Molly pulls out a bucket of slip to show us how she starts–and what her winter process has been.

We stick our fingers in the tense and smooth liquid. The chatter in my mind immediately dims. Molly explains “deflocculating” from the slip caster’s lexicon: breaking down and dispersing clumping particles.

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“Deflocculating” is the most beautiful word in the English language when you have your hand in a bucket of slip. Slip is the color of milky tea, air, maybe a gray rain cloud mixed in. I rinse my fingers off in the sink.

“You are making a membrane,” says Molly, explaining how she fills the mold with slip, hoping for a set form with no cracks.

All winter, Molly dealt with the rigors of membrane-making and the effects that duration can have in the process of slip casting. Under a light, she has spread the shards of broken membrane that she’ll reuse.

“I’ve been looking at the failures,” she says with a strange mix of affection and frustration as we tour the slip cemetery.

mollyspadonepenland2

 

How does the hairline fracture start? Molly’s at home with this question–winter has given her time for it. It’s her last winter as a core fellow at Penland, and she’s getting ready to move back to her native Maine with just enough time to unpack before she makes her way back to Penland to assist in David Eichelberger’s spring clay workshop. [Ed. note: she’s back now, and David’s spring workshop has begun.]

“I have such a sweet taste in my mouth for this place,” she says, looking around her as we take a last look at one of the finished crocks. No cracks.
View more of Molly’s work in clay this winter–including the crocks, featuring newsprint transfers of drawings by Molly’s friend and collaborator, Kay Kelley–on Molly’s blog.

 

Photographs by Robin Dreyer; writing by Elaine Bleakney

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Studio Visit: Audrey Bell

 

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Audrey Bell remembers her father bringing home old typesetting drawers, fiddling with the compartments inside, and then filling them with objects. She laughs after saying it, maybe because it’s such an obvious connection to what she’s making now: wood compartments populated by figures and objects, habitats within cabinets, drawers that aren’t drawers, and frames that aren’t frames.

 

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Here’s one (at left) she finished this winter. The painting moves: lines in the bodies, the woman’s hair, a sweeping slant of sky, shapes and colors brought out from the wood. The dark stain of a shadow. There’s a hairline of aqua tracing this shadow–another kind of container. This is microwork, drawing one very close to the wall, asking a viewer to consider what is the nature of the mark or the surface? And then you step back: funny yellow dart, yellow of the toy store blaring yet somehow in check with the shifting subtle tones in the painting and the wood.

 

The painting and the wood in this work–it’s a palette reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth, one of several artists Audrey notes as an influence. Influence is tracked in Audrey’s world. This is an understatement. Um, just take a look at her journal:

 

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Audrey is wild about Giotto’s geometry, colors, and figures; old masters like Hans Holbein and Jan van Eyck (subjects of drawings she’s done this winter and letterpressed on cards). She tells us about a painting she saw on a recent trip to D.C: Honore Sharrer’s Tribute to the American Working People. “Oh my god I wish I’d done it,” says Audrey, paging through her journal for Sharrer’s name. “Pea-green next to vibrant–I don’t know–green-green?” she says, describing Sharrer’s use of color.

 

Sharrer’s painting took five years, and Margalit Fox’s 2009 obituary for Sharrer in the New York Times closes with the fact that she used “more than 200 delicate, ‘double-zero’ paintbrushes” for the work. It’s a detail from the world of concrete things, 200 double-zero paintbrushes, brought to the foreground by the writer. In Audrey’s work, a similar instinct for the double-zero: a tenderness for it.
Photographs by Robin Dreyer, writing by Elaine Bleakney