mythology

Mixed Media

Vignette: Ann Stewart Anderson

"Callie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Callie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

The Answer Is Sisterhood

It was recently announced that Anderson is one of the recipients of the 2017 Al Smith Fellowship. The prestigious award, named in honor of former arts council chair and Kentucky journalist Al Smith, recognizes professional artists who have reached a high level of achievement in their careers. Since its beginning in 1983, the program has provided more than $2.5 million in funding to artists in the visual arts, literary arts, media arts, composing and choreography. In this round of funding, the fellowships were awarded to artists in the choreography and literary arts disciplines.

Ann Stewart Anderson has been working with assemblage techniques through the use of various media for several years, but most recently she has been using paper, specifically images and textures pulled from art magazines. Now she utilizes the approach in a new series that seems consistent with the style and themes of the Wonderful Old Women (W.O.W.) series, yet there is a new political commentary that has come into play.

“It has been almost a year since I got the idea of creating Sisters,” explains Anderson. “Since then I have made seven TEFFUBUD sisters, three GAMTRA sisters, four NACIREMA sisters, three DEMARF sisters, and I am just now putting the final touches on the last group of as yet unnamed sisters.”

“This new concept pushes me to develop more complex images. The NACIREMA sisters, (Hint: read it backwards), inspired by a portrait of Donald Trump illustrated in  last November’s Art In America, is a visual statement about presidential politics. Each woman represents an American state: Minnie, Minnesota; Dela, Delaware; Flora, Florida and Callie, California. All are dressed in black and, hidden away in the composition there are upside down American flags. And, as you can see, all have some characteristics of the face of Trump which literally is under the transforming layers of paper glued over it to create these sisters. I will continue to make more siblings as long as I can find inspiration and material, which is pretty easy thanks to my local bookshop and friends for whom I am delighted to recycle their discarded art magazines.”  

"Dela" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Dela" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

The use of the inverted flag references the U.S. military protocol for flying the flag upside down as a warning to approaching troops. In the past, Anderson, has expressed social commentary through the use of Classical Mythology in her paintings, almost always with a vital feminist undercurrent, yet the political message in these images is expressed with even greater subtlety. Anderson’s use of collage has developed even more, with some of the textures and compositions in “Dela”, for example, recalling her previous work with mosaics. 

Anderson ‘s new series is making its public debut in Sisters: A Family Resemblance, a solo show concurrent with the Painting II show at Galerie Hertz, both running through September 2, 2017.

"Moira" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Moira" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

 Anderson’s work can be found in several corporate collections including:

Drake Hotel, Chicago
Turtle Wax Company, Chicago
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Louisville
Brown Foreman Distillers
Atlantic Richfield Corporation
Evansville Museum of Arts and Science
Alabama Power Company
Central Bank, Lexington
Hilliard Lyons, Louisville
Cleveland Clinic
Makers Mark Distillery

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 82
Education: BA, Wellesley College, MA, American University
Gallery Representative: Galerie Hertz (Louisville)
Website: http://www.annstewartanderson.com

"Enid" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Enid" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Minnie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Minnie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?  Click here  to learn more.

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Mixed Media, Painting, Drawing

Feature: The Future Is Now, Part 1 of 2

What is The Future Is Now?

"Untitled' by Lauren Hirsch   (Mentor), 19x30in, mixed media, $600 |  BUY NOW

"Untitled' by Lauren Hirsch (Mentor), 19x30in, mixed media, $600 | BUY NOW

The word itself has its origins in Greek Mythology, Mentor being the name of a friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus' son Telemachus. Like so many things that have weathered the passage of time, the concept of mentorship in contemporary society has taken on a variety of nuanced shadings, but the essential idea remains the same: for an older, more experienced individual to guide or instruct a person who has less experience.

But isn’t that a teacher? We seem to have a greater expectation now that a mentor also provides an example beyond formal instruction. A teacher in a classroom setting might be a mentor, but a mentor need not be teacher in a classroom.

The Future Is Now is a program that pairs aspiring young artists with an adult, working artist so that they might provide that example by working together on projects that will be exhibited at the end of the process. Born in the mind of Daniel Pfalzgraf, now Curator at the Carnegie Center for Art & History, and facilitated by LVA Director of Education and Outreach Jackie Pallesen, the program selects students through an application process each year. Pallesen gathers a pool of prospective mentors for the students to choose from - working artists whose work and/or studio practice will complement the young artist’s creative talents.

"Healer" by Dominic Guarnaschelli   (Mentor), 47x35x6in, UV print, acrylic, steel, and electric cord on panel (2017), $800 |  BUY NOW

"Healer" by Dominic Guarnaschelli (Mentor), 47x35x6in, UV print, acrylic, steel, and electric cord on panel (2017), $800 | BUY NOW

The program is executed in conjunction with Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University (KyCAD). Andrew Cozzens, KyCAD Assistant Professor and manager of the school’s 849 Gallery, was a mentor in the first year, and the experience motivated him to work with Pallesen to forge a formal collaboration on the program. Now many of the combined meetings, which began on May 30, take place in KyCAD studios, with all the efforts culminating in an exhibit that opens July 20 in the 849 Gallery.

Those meetings follow a structure designed to give shape to the creative dynamic and demand communications etiquette between everyone involved. “Things can get off track so easily if accountability to the members of the team is not emphasized,” states Pallesen, who facilitates the early stages of the process. “There is certainly structure, but at some point the relationship between mentor and mentee takes over.”

That relationship is given a foundation of introductions and icebreaking exercises, formal presentations by each artist of their work, and some attention to art history. A series of critiques led by KyCAD faculty allow each pair to present their respective projects to the group and receive feedback.

"While You Wait (detail)" by Deb Whistler   (Mentor), pen & ink, cut paper & plexiglass

"While You Wait (detail)" by Deb Whistler (Mentor), pen & ink, cut paper & plexiglass

The Future Is Now looks for student artists who have substantial ambition to pursue art or design in their college choices. Most are thinking about fine art programs, but this year includes a fashion designer, Ballard High School student Nicole Scott, who Pallesen lined up with Jake Ford. “Nicole wanted a fashion professional, naturally enough, but I encouraged her to work with Jake, whose sculpture is so conceptual. I hoped it would help her develop the idea of concept and narrative in clothing and challenge her more.”

Eventually the pairings broke down this way:

Bobby Barbour, multi-media artist  -  Brittney Sharpe, Eastern High School
Deb Whistler, 2-D artist  -  Rashad Sullivan, Western High School
Dominic Guarneschelli, multi-media artist  -  Hannah Lyle, Ballard High School
Jake Ford, multi-media artist  -  Nicole Scott, Ballard High School
Lauren Hirsch, 2-D artist  -  Sunny Podbelsek, duPont Manual High School
Linda Erzinger, multi-media artist - Heavenly Tanner, Academy @ Shawnee

Mentee, Brittney Sharp

Mentee, Brittney Sharp

Brittney Sharp’s chosen mediums are colored pencil, markers, or acrylic paint. This year she won an honorable mention from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Last year she was a part of her schools Vans Custom Culture team and the team ending up winning in their region. The Eastern Vans team tied for 4th place after moving on to national voting.

Mentee, Rashad Sullivan

Mentee, Rashad Sullivan

Rashad Sullivan excels in the fine arts department and is an excellent draftsman. He free hands all of his artwork, which is often detailed drawings of animals and objects. He especially likes to use value in his artwork.

Mentee, Hannah Lyle

Mentee, Hannah Lyle

Hannah Lyle currently attends Ballard High School. They enjoy oil painting, and they are a member of NAHS (National Artist Honors Society) at their school.

Mentee, Nicole Scott

Mentee, Nicole Scott

Nicole Scott is busy developing her own website "uNique Styles" and her fashions have been featured in the local Sew Much Fun e-Newsletter. In October 2016, Nicole won second place in the University of Louisville Youth Pitch Fest.

Mentee, Sunny Rae Podbelsek

Mentee, Sunny Rae Podbelsek

Sunny Rae Podbelsek loves to draw and create comics and characters. She mostly uses pen, marker, and watercolor but also loves paint and printing. Podbelsek has won many awards, including a total of 4 regional Silver keys, 5 regional Gold keys, 8 regional honorable mentions, and 1 National Silver key in the Scholastic art and writing awards. She is a 2017 Governor’s Scholar.

Heavenly Tanner's chosen medium is drawing, which includes graphite pencil, sharpie pens, and markers. Her accomplishments include winning the Kentucky Derby Art Contest when she was in elementary school, she also received a scholarship to the University of Louisville for art by winning an art contest put on by the university.

Tomorrow, Part 2: Critiques and Results


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?  Click here  to learn more.

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Mixed Media

Curatorial Spotlight: Ann Stewart Anderson


“I believe that I’m here to create in a world that’s falling apart.”


A photograph of Ann Stewart Anderson. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography for LVA

A photograph of Ann Stewart Anderson. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography for LVA

I’ve known Ann Stewart and her work much of my adult life. As I got to know her work, I admired it for its visual accessibility and its conceptual complexity. Her resume of accomplishments and milestones is pages long. Over the past several weeks, I’ve read what others have said about her work, what she’s said about it, and looked at images of pieces I remember, along with ones I’ve never seen. This process has only increased my admiration.

Recently, she and I had a conversation in her studio that ran the gamut from homemade paper dolls to theologian Paul Tillich’s assertion that myths express truth. 

In our conversation, Ann Stewart talked about her father, a Presbyterian minister who studied architecture in college, built a playhouse for his three little girls, and had the courage to stand up publically for civil rights in a time when most other white ministers steadfastly kept their seats; and her mother, an artist who nurtured her daughters’ creativity with easels and paints in the sunroom, building supplies outside, and the steady encouragement to imagine.

Her parents were bedtime story readers, letting the girls take turns picking the book. When it was Ann Stewart’s turn, she always picked Greek mythology, tales of valorous men in war and the women whose lives intersected their personal and public battles. 

Dolls hanging in Anderson's studio. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography for LVA.

Dolls hanging in Anderson's studio. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography for LVA.

After graduating with honors from Wellesley with a BA in art history, Ann Stewart got a job as a secretary to the Assistant Director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. With additional odd jobs and what she saved (proudly recalled) from her $2,700 a year job, she paid her own way through graduate school, earning a degree in painting from The American University.

Although she began her career in art as a painter, early collaborations with friends like potter Sarah Frederick and fiber artist Lida Gordon offered opportunities to experiment with other media. Her first big collaboration came when the Louisville Visual Art Association chose Ann Stewart as one of five artists for its “Collaborative Effort” show. The only condition was they needed to pick an artist from outside the region to work with.

But whom would she ask? “Somebody suggested Judy Chicago,” Ann Stewart recalls. At that time, Chicago was gaining a national reputation as a feminist artist with The Dinner Party. So Ann Stewart wrote a letter and sent some of her work. Miraculously, Chicago called. 

“What do you want to do?” Chicago asked.

A close look at Anderson's studio's desk. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography for LVA

A close look at Anderson's studio's desk. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography for LVA

Ann Stewart recalls feeling unprepared. “When she was on the phone, I had to say something, so I just said ‘menopause.’”

And that was the birth of the Hot Flash Fan project, a giant multi-media collaboration that eventually included work by over 50 artists and helped bring menopause out of the shadows and away from silly euphemisms like, “the change.”

Throughout her career, Ann Stewart’s subject has been women and the sustaining rhythm of their ordinary days. Her goal has always been to see women as subjects, not as objects. “That opens the possibility for other women to identify with the women in my work. I don’t paint portraits. I make up these women and somebody will say, ‘That reminds me of so-and-so,’ or the situations will remind them of themselves. Only women can do that. I admire male artists and have been influenced by the painting of Matisse, Bonnard and Max Beckmann, but I think there’s something significant about a woman artist being able to see something and identify with other women.”

But she’s also been a thoughtful artist, one who reads widely, assesses dispassionately and, for much of her life, kept an ongoing journal about her work: a conversation of ideas, technical struggles, connected and disconnected thoughts.

"Esther" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 14x12in, paper mosaic (2016)

"Esther" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 14x12in, paper mosaic (2016)

It’s Ann Stewart’s point of view that makes her work so provocative. In one series, she creates women in conversations. “It’s the kind of thing women are criticized for,” she says, “nattering, gossiping, but it’s how people learn things. It’s how the important things of life are passed on.” 

Her point of view sometimes reveals a wicked sense of humor, too, like the Ugly Bride series, and the Reject project that she put together at a time when she wasn’t being accepted in shows. “I got depressed,” she says. “Nobody wanted my work. It was going on too long and I decided I had to do something, so I created an art project.” By following the steps to enter a juried exhibit--excruciatingly well known by most artists—she made a point of attempting acceptance in twelve shows. The project culminated in a gala at Louisville Visual Art (LVA) when their home was the Louisville Water Tower, where all her rejection letters were displayed.

“The theme was ‘lemonade from lemons.’ Everything was yellow, and I put up all my rejections on a big wall and invited everybody else to stick theirs on, too, and then I gave ribbons for the best and worst rejections.” Although it was not part of the plan, the mojo worked. After that show—she started getting accepted again.

In her artist’s statement, Ann Stewart says her work is “characterized by dynamic ambiguity.” You can see that in the planes and angles of her “broken dish” women, or in those whose faces are partially hidden—under the brim of a hat, behind a veil or sunglasses, or the old women in extravagant dress and accessories. “You have to fill in the spaces yourself,” she says.

Various works hanging in Anderson's studio. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography for LVA.

Various works hanging in Anderson's studio. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography for LVA.

One of the most satisfying experiences she’s had as an artist came with a series depicting the relationship between mother and daughter from the time the mother was pregnant until the day her daughter stood by her mother’s flower draped coffin. At the time, this work was displayed through LVA at Louisville International Airport. One day, Ann Stewart got a call from LVA telling her a woman had called, wanting to talk with her. She assumed the caller wanted to purchase her work, but as Ann Stewart recalls, “It was even better.”

“Are you the artist?” the woman asked.

When Ann Stewart said yes, the woman told her she’d never talked to an artist before but, ”’I was at the airport between planes when I saw your work. My daughter and I were having a big fight, but after I saw your work I was moved to reconcile with her.’ I tell that story to a lot of artists—it’s easy to feel guilty for ignoring social ills, but we don’t really know how our work affects people. “

"Sun Stand" by Ann Stewart Anderson, broken dish mosaic (2008) NFS

"Sun Stand" by Ann Stewart Anderson, broken dish mosaic (2008) NFS

Throughout her life, she’s been blessed with having good jobs to “support my habit,” she laughs. For her, there’s never been a question of how to balance making a living with making art. “Art has always come first. I always had a studio because making art is what I do.” Even marriage to Ron Mikulak, food writer and retired Food Editor for the Courier-Journal, has not created the tension some artists experience trying to balance home with making art. “I’ve been lucky. Ron cooks and I make art. When I’m working in the studio, he’s creating in the kitchen, where he loves to be. And when I come out of the studio, there’s a beautiful meal on the table.” 

Her work has tended to follow the chronology of her life. Today, she’s working on “old women” and, most lately, a series she calls the Teffubud Sisters

“I was working on the broken dish women, and I was getting really tired having to be in a mask breaking dishes. It was a big mess.” A friend gave Ann Stewart a book about paper mosaics. “I thought, ‘I’d like to try that,’” so she began hunting through some old art magazines she’d tried unsuccessfully to sell at a yard sale for material to use in mosaics. “I discovered I loved working with paper and scissors.”

"Discord (Women and War)" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 46x40in, oil on canvas (2010)

"Discord (Women and War)" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 46x40in, oil on canvas (2010)

That change of medium was fortuitous when she and her husband moved into a condominium where she couldn’t work with oil paints any more because of the fumes, and still more so later when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “There are some things I can’t do, but fortunately, I can still cut.”

The Teffubud Sisters were born from a picture of a grotesque man by artist Jean Dubuffet that Ann Stewart discovered in one of the art magazines. Each sister’s face takes its basic shape from the Dubuffet “parent,” but after that the ridges, lines and contours of each woman—and her adornments—belong to her alone. 

Parkinson’s has forced other accommodations. The most painful? - The fact that she can’t write any more. As she tells me this, Ann Stewart points to a long row of books and notebooks on the top shelf in her studio. “I’ve always journaled about what I’m doing—and I can’t any more. That’s really hard.”

So how does she look at her art now? “I don’t think being recognized is the most important thing anymore. I want to be like Renoir—and this story might be apocryphal—but he’s supposed to have painted on the day he died. That’s what I want to be. I want to keep creating.” 

Today, she says, that’s more important than ever. “I believe that I’m here to create in a world that’s falling apart. Creative energy is the only counter to all the destructive energy out there. That’s why it’s so important for all of us.”

"Phoebe" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 14x12in, paper mosaic (2015)

"Phoebe" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 14x12in, paper mosaic (2015)

"Millie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 14x12in, paper mosaic (2016)

"Millie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 14x12in, paper mosaic (2016)


ss.jpg

This Feature article was written by Sarah Yates.
Sarah Yates is a writer who lives and works in Louisville, KY.


Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Click here  for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Click here for further information on advertising through Artebella.