Five Artists’ Perspectives
Gallery 6 Exhibition Title: Unbound
Exhibition Dates: September 20, 2019 - January 10, 2020
Reception: Friday November 1, 5-7pm, During the Dover Art Walk
List of Artists: Lindsey Boss, Corwin Levi, Conny Goelz Schmitt, Carolyn Sirois, Wen-hao Tien
About the Exhibition:
Between the covers of a book lies thrilling adventure, emotion and drama, entertainment, education, and a way of stepping into others’ lives and experiences... even if only in the mind. But what physically makes up a book, content aside? Technically: wood or fiber pulp, glue, sometimes thread, fabric or leather, and ink. Reading, for many, is not just comprehension. It’s the experience of holding an object, feeling its weight, smelling the paper, turning the pages, using a bookmark, snapping it shut. Yet, when reckoning with all the resources that it takes to create a physical book, even those who relish stepping into a library and standing in awe of the thousands of spines, can understand the logic behind digital reading tablet devices. Trading a hands-on experience for something virtual is a defining trait of the twenty-first century.
Traditional books have a lifespan, as all objects do. They age. They become yellowed, wrinkled, torn, dog-eared, stained. Some people might say “loved”. What happens to those books whose prose no longer appeals to today’s reader? Whose information is outdated? Whose manifestos are no longer inspiring? Whose points of view are intolerant; evidence of a different era? Regardless of why they were put down, the evidence of the reader’s personal relationship to the book-object is clear by its condition. As texts become digitized and archived for eternity, so that tangible history is lost, meanwhile forgotten books continue to crumble on lonely shelves.
The artists featured in Unbound find new expression from within texts. Almost mischievously, they snip, rip, mark, fill, cover up, and create artwork from the shells and guts of books. In this deconstructing and reconstructing manner, they remark on the limits of written language and convey new phrases from color, negative and positive space, and transitions between materials. Thus, in this romance with tactility, stories are born through artwork from texts that no longer speak.
Living across New England but often drawing on international backgrounds and extensive domestic travels, the patchwork of each artists’ professional and personal experience translates well to an exhibit that uses primarily collage as a tool of communication. Continuing education and visual culture research are important facets of these artists’ lives; as both teacher and student, through residencies, and academic programs.
About the Artists:
Lindsey Boss is a visual artist currently living and working in Boston, where she graduated with a BFA at Massachusetts College of Art in 2008. For the past 10 years, she has been primarily a collage artist and an avid collector of vintage books and magazines. Relying heavily on imagery from the 50s-70s, she hopes to evoke feelings of nostalgia, often mixing components of the natural world with figures, patterns, and vintage homes. Her use of negative space and often times missing body parts, is an attempt to depict dreamlike landscapes, and to leave bits and pieces of the story up to the viewer. Collage-making has been a way to process her own life and larger ideas through experimentation with the imagery and the materials themselves, in hopes to convey some form of wisdom.
Bio: Corwin Levi is a mixed-media artist, curator, illustrator, arts writer, and attorney who investigates the limits of vision, experience, and memory by constructing maps of the unknown. He has had solo shows, participated in group shows, and curated exhibits across the country, and has been reviewed in publications such as the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and on Bloomberg TV. Levi has attended over twenty different artist residencies, including the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, Ucross Foundation for the Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Wurlitzer Foundation. He has also created public art, including a 175-foot-long mural in North Adams, Massachusetts, across from MASS MoCA. Levi has a BA from Rice University, an MFA from the Tyler School of Art, and a JD from the University of Virginia. Based in Harrisville, New Hampshire, he is a partner at the design firm Gwarlingo Studio, and draws inspiration from his travels—having lived in eighteen cities across twelve states.
Conny Goelz Schmitt
Statement: I create geometric collages, assemblages and sculptures with vintage book parts. My work is a never-ending story where I play with deconstruction and reconstruction, and changing dimensionality - often within one piece. On the hunt for textured surfaces and faded colors I deconstruct discarded vintage books. By means of décollage the element of chance becomes an integral part of my process. While extending the margins of my compositions I build new space, always conscious of maintaining balance and harmony within the work. Although my work seems planned and calculated it evolves organically within a rule-based system. The interplay of sizes, shapes and color leads me on a search for the perfect placement of my salvaged and manipulated material. This pursuit becomes both meditation and ritual.
Bio: Conny Goelz Schmitt is a collage artist and sculptor who spent her youth in Germany, moved to Taiwan in her twenties, and relocated to the US in 1996. Having been immersed in three very different cultures, she is drawn to hard edge painting influenced by the German “attention to detail”, the retro color palette reminiscent of Taiwan in the 80s, and the very often experimental and creative pioneering spirit of Americans. Her medium of choice is almost without exception the vintage book.
In Germany she studied Sinology and German Literature at Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen. She was named Sculptor of the Year by Chief Curator of Boston University, Kate McNamara in CAA’s 69th Members’ Prize Show. In 2016, Paul C. Ha, Director of the List Visual Art Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, selected her work for the Best Multi Media Prize in CAA’s National Prize Show. Besides exhibiting at Kingston Gallery, Boston, MA, Coastal Contemporary Gallery, Newport, RI and Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, New York, NY her work has been featured at Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (Germany), the Cultural Association of Rosa Venerini, Viterbo (Italy), The Painting Center, New York, Site: Brooklyn, New York, The Danforth Art Museum, Framingham, MA, and Touchstone Gallery in Washington, DC, among others. Conny has a studio in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Statement: After we entered the Charlestown Navy Yard the gates were closed and flags were lowered. I was with my Sightings: Cognitive Mapping class from the Museum School. It was Sept 11, 2001.
Late into the night on Nov 2, 2016, I was alone watching PBS news and texting friends. Trump had just been elected President of the United States. Disbelief and shock.
A usual workday, a Tuesday in October 2018, I was on my screen with multiple windows open and on my phone keeping up with my teaching life, my private life, and the world. I was sort of managing the density and volume—but not really.
Times of ruins.
My work is a response to ruins we experience both collectively and individually. I investigate how identities are formed and morphed through the cultural and historical moments of our lives. I work with an aesthetics of ruins—eroded structures, traces and imprints of time, text under erasure—to consider what we hold onto amidst the fragments and complexities of contemporary chaos. I bundle, collage, collect, research, write, erase, excavate, construct, deconstruct and reconstruct in my art practice. I manipulate materials to present sediments of time and sediments of thinking on loss, longing, transformation and renewal.
I ask how we move forward.
Bio: Traversing worlds is what I know. I cross disciplines and shift roles between artist of mixed media works (2D and 3D), writing instructor, mum of two cool kids (college student/ college grad), and partner of supportive spouse who offers balance. Visual arts, poetry, literature, contemporary theory, writing studies, and cultural/political studies all figure into my trajectory as an artist. While working on my studio art degree from the School of Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), where I studied painting, drawing, printmaking, collage and assemblage, art history and theory, I continued to teach writing and literature courses at Northeastern University. In both environments discussions of identity, history, culture, art practices, writing practices and the web of connections between individual and collective realms were ongoing. In each environment, the importance of one’s process, and reflecting on that process was emphasized—whether exploring a range of materials/media and ideas in the studio or revising ideas and overall form/design of a written piece.
I returned to the SMFA in 2001-02 for the Fifth Year program, which culminated in Fifth Year Exhibit and Traveling Scholars awards. I am still a Lecturer of English at Northeastern University. I have also taught at the Museum School (now SMFA at Tufts), Berklee College of Music as well as the Boston Architectural Center. Over the years I have exhibited my art in Cambridge, Boston, the North Shore, the Vineyard, New Hampshire and Maine. I’m pleased to have artwork in private collections in New England, Florida, Washington D. C., Ottawa, Bangkok and Rome.
I recently received my MFA from Lesley University College of Art and Design.
Bio: Wen-hao Tien is a visual artist, educator, and Assistant Director of Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies, Regional Studies.
Wen-hao grew-up in Taiwan and later moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies. She began her academic pursues with biomedical sciences, and then to social studies and visual art. Her studio artwork focuses on language and translation, and explores culture and identity through a unique cross-cultural lens. She is also known for her contemporary Chinese calligraphy and painting.
A long time Cambridge resident, her professional background includes 15 years working at Harvard University’s Asia studies centers and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. She is currently an Master of Fine Arts degree candidate at the Lesley University’s College of Art and Design.
Statement: My studio practice interprets our physical and psychological connections to the natural world through foraging, interacting, and researching. The work is created between field and studio.
Images in the exhibition are from the “Sticks Throw” series. In this work, found tree branches are collaged with pages of a visual journal. Sticks were thrown to create free-falls and from each fall landed a mysterious image, like oracle sticks. These images created by “chance”, convey personal messages as the titles would suggest. It is not something that can be achieved by arranging the sticks intentionally! As an immigrant, my inspiration is often triggered by a desire to communicate through a cross-cultural lens.
As always, no admission fee is required to view the art in Gallery 6. Regular admission applies for families who wish to also explore the rest of the Museum. To learn more about this art exhibition or about the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire please visit www.childrens-museum.org.
About the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire:
The not-for-profit Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located at 6 Washington Street in Dover and offers two levels of hands-on, interactive exhibits for children from newborn to middle school. Children can explore a wide range of subjects, from dinosaurs, music and aeronautics to world cultures, art and natural history. Open year-round, the Silver LEED-certified museum specializes in creating memorable family learning experiences and works closely with schools, social service agencies and educators. The museum also hosts a variety of live performances, workshops, classes and special events for families. For more information, please call the museum at (603) 742-2002 or visit www.childrens-museum.org