“In the beginning” -Genesis 1:1
It is a truth many are unwilling to look in the eye, everything that beings must end. Whether we consider a day ending in night, a season ending in transition to the next, or indeed a life quietly slipping out of view, all those things that commence must also cease to be. Even the universe is finite, as far as science can predict. When we work toward being at peace with this, we begin to see our way to a happier, more balanced life. One that does not take for granted the time we are given.
Larassa Kabel is usually involved in multiple projects. Her solo work at the moment is focused on an ongoing series titled Any Minute Now. The work are mostly large scale, colored pencil drawings of horses falling through space. She also creates smaller studies of the work.
Kabel also curates and presently she is collaborating on a series of redacted children’s photos with artist Ben Easter. For the work, children are photographed before the artists go back and erase most of the image. The work examines the treatment of children’s photos by their caretakers among other concepts.
Kabel works with imagery of death quite often, substituting animals for people. For a recent work she sought out a dead deer to photograph, a task she found ironically difficult in a place where deer are as plentiful as squirrels elsewhere. She also works with smaller animals in similar capacity. Kabel aspires to work with a deceased horse.
For her series Any Minute Now Kabel says the concept came to her in a flash. A longtime horse person (since the age of 2) she admires the beauty and strength of the creatures. Despite their power, horses are incredibly fragile. A flash image of a horse falling and the realization of what will happen when it lands inspired the work which is a meditation on the reality that we lose everything eventually. Some of the work in the series is life sized, they are all drawn in black colored pencil.
Kabel lives and works in Des Moines, Iowa. Despite being removed from the coasts and major art hubs, her career thrives. While the city has its detriments, Kabel says it is a very easy place to live and work. She occupies a giant studio with a huge north window that is affordable to keep as opposed to those in cities like New York or Los Angeles. In order to get her very large scale work out into the world, Kabel relies heavily on networking and making connections. She does occasionally apply for shows, but in general she finds opportunities via her network. Kabel networks via the internet as well as in person.
To hear more about Kabel’s work, life in the midwest, collaborations and more, listen to the complete interview.
Marietta Bernstorff lives and works in Oaxaca, Mexico. There she is curating an exhibit of 13 artists who are or were teachers at the university level as well as 13 master crafts people from Mexico. She considers the show a dialogue.
Another project empowers women who have no craft to tell their stories through the learned crafts of patchwork and applique. The women are all housewives who have experienced migration. Today, after eight years of the project, each of them are self-sustaining artists with a traveling exhibit soon to be visiting University of Michigan.
Bernstorff is writing a book about this eight year project. Her writing focuses on the reasons that people migrate and cross the border. She examines why they continue to do this even in the face of dangerous and increasingly hostile conditions in the U.S.
Much of Bernstorff’s activity centers around facilitating work with local artists in Oaxaca for artists around the world. In part this sheds light on just how difficult it can be to dialogue with another artist. She also puts an emphasis on the potential for colonizing behavior that allows outsiders to believe they will “help” the locals. Bernstorff asserts that those attitudes need to change.
Crafts people, she says, often have a deeper understanding of what it is they do than artists. One reason for this is that in many cases, the crafts people have been doing what they do since early childhood while this isn’t typical for most artists. Bernstorff says that artists are surprised to discover the depth of understanding held by crafts people about the work they do.
Ultimately much of Bernstorff’s work centers around the idea of sharing. Whether ideas, culture, and workload itself, she understands the critical need for those from other cultures and other spheres to come together in the spirit of collaboration.
Art, Bernstorff has discovered, has been a way for the women of Oaxaca to express who they are. It helps them to relieve the stress that comes from daily fear about myriad hardships that could befall their families. She has taken some of the women to visit the border, which they had never seen. This helped give them an understanding of just what it means to make the journey across.
Bernstorff offers workshops in Oaxaca and Mexico City. Information can be found at her website. To hear her talk more about her work, opportunities with her in Mexico and the women and crafts people of the area, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Larassa Kabel loves reading Harry Potter to soothe her mind and fall asleep. Marietta Bernstorff is reading How to See: Looking, Talking and Thinking About Art by David Salle.
In their own words, “Women’s Studio Workshop envisions a society where women’s visual art is integral to the cultural mainstream and permanently recorded in history.” The workshop maintains facilities for artists to work in various mediums and curates a small collection of opportunities around the world. For complete details on the studio space at Women’s Studio Workshop and to see their list of opportunities, visit the website.
Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.
Sponsor: Whitney Museum of American Art – David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night. Jul 13–Sep 30, 2018. Beginning in the late 1970s, David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) created a body of work that spanned photography, painting, music, film, sculpture, writing, and activism.