This summer I spent a lot of time reflecting on the amazing things I saw both in museums and outdoors as I traveled around the country. I thought about the ways in which we as artists are influenced and inspired by the raw beauty of nature.
And how each artist takes that inspiration in new and interesting directions. One never knows what you may happen upon as you explore in nature and where it will take you if you let your imagination run with it.
Or explores it in their own favorite meduim.
I also reflected on how art and museums have changed and become more open and inclusive of various media. I recall being in grad school in NYC and how some people turned their nose up at the thought of photography being included in the MET. Now art includes many more media and college students today would likely find it humorous that anyone once objected to photography, much as it seems odd that once the impressionists were thought to create ugly work. Fashion in museums is an example of inclusiveness that I found very engaging on a recent visit to the MET. The show Heavenly Bodies exhibited contemporary fashion inspired by medevil and Catholic traditional art.
I love the peacefulness of the wing housing Native American art. I especially enjoy seeing contemporary work by people of the various indigenous cultures and have always felt it was important to share contemporary work with my students so they understand that many cultures are not just something of the past but are still alive and creating art. I enjoy seeing the ways that tradition influences the contemporary work and is re-envisioned for today’s world and messages.
Additionally I was struck by the use of fashion in an exhibit in Seattle this summer in which the artist designed the fabrics to represent the places in which crimes against women took place then created a dress from that fabric as a statement against the crime. It was not only innovative, but incredibly moving!
Similarly to fashion, glass was once only shown in glass museums, so I was excited to see it on display at the MET now too. As I head back into the studio next week to start working on new sculptures, my head is swimming with the connections between nature and our own mental well being as well as the importance of protecting the environment if for no other reason for our own self-preservation both mentally and for survival reasons. As I drove through CA this summer the scarcity of water and how to use it made it ever so clear that once nature is scarce, there are no good answers so we need to protect it before it is a problem, not when it becomes too late. I look forward to seeing how these themes of the connectedness between our own well-being, nature and art play out in my new work.