April is a month of exhibits for me. My solo show “Ephemeral and Enduring” at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center features my cloudscapes and landscapes. One of my cloudscapes — Cantata for Eventide — was accepted as part of the Indiana Artists Annual Exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The dreaded artist statement
All of this exhibiting requires not only artwork, but also words. For the solo show, I needed to write an artist statement to explain why in the world I made these massive linocuts. As a rule, I find artist statements an exercise in hyperbole where the reader feels inadequate to even be viewing the artwork.
Having severe writer’s block this week necessitated a trip to a local coffee shop, complete with large expensive soy latte and a pad of paper. After an hour of scribbling thoughts and sentences, I finally arrived upon the following stream of conscious style explanation of my show:
Early morning. Gazing at towering billows of clouds as I wait for a traffic light, suddenly I am compelled to capture the scene with my Iphone. Above me is an immense gathering of tiny water droplets – fleeting – charged with emotion – belying possible violent change. Just for a moment, my quixotic companions lift me from my world, oblivious to my current obsessions and concerns.
Another traffic light. This time a vista unfolds to my left. Land – solid – existing from before words of any human language echoed in its hollows. Before me stretches a reminder that despite the current human clamorings, this topography continues to deliberately evolve, hiding its scars and reinventing itself beneath layers of rock and soil and foliage.
The very creation of a reduction linocut is an intentional conversation between what I have witnessed and the materials I use for my capture. One day is devoted to painstaking carving and another to colorful printing. Each color is a new layer, another day. It is slow and laborious, allowing my mind to drift away from the present to revel in the inexplicable macrocosm in which I am but a glimmer.
Writing an artist bio that people will want to read
The Indianapolis Art Museum group show requires an artist bio. Feeling inadequate in my educational pedigrees, I consulted the internet for writing guidance. The best advice came from Artsy : What We Learned from Writing 7000 Artist Bios. This article advised writing a maximum of 120 words, and focussing on one or two key points.
With the deadline looming, I created the following bio, actually quoting my own artist statement from my show.
Printmaker Elizabeth Busey likes to exploit the deliberate nature of large-scale relief printmaking as a way to meditate on parts of the world that fascinate her. Daily encounters with towering billows of clouds as well as expansive topographies are translated into large, colorful reduction linocuts.
“Reduction printmaking is slow and laborious,” explains Busey, “allowing my mind to drift away from the present to revel in the explicable macrocosm in which I am but a glimmer.”
Some inspiration for Busey comes from her travels around the globe, yet she can also find subject matter while waiting at a traffic light in her hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. After studying printmaking at Indiana University, Busey now creates her multi-layered works in her basement studio on an etching press her husband created out of recycled steel.
Here are the details of the respective shows:
Ephemeral and Enduring. The Rosemary Miller Gallery at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. 122 South Walnut Street, Bloomington, Indiana
March 31 – April 22. Opening Friday, April 7 from 5 to 8pm.
Indiana Artists Annual Exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
April 7 – June 11, 2017
Admission to the exhibit in the Bret Waller Gallery is free. There is a charge for the rest of the museum and grounds.
So many words! Now back to making some art.