woman

Photography, Fiber, Installation

Vignette: Sarah Kinslow

"Parachute Room" by Sarah Kinslow, 25x14in, still frame of cinemagraph (2016), $100 |  BUY NOW

"Parachute Room" by Sarah Kinslow, 25x14in, still frame of cinemagraph (2016), $100 | BUY NOW

Artists change over time. As a student in LVA’s Children’s Fine Art Classes, Sarah Kinslow was adept at highly detailed pen & ink drawings, the highlight of a portfolio that earned her a scholarship. Now in art school, she has shifted into fiber as a medium: “From a young age I was introduced to the art world via textile crafts such as crocheting, knitting, embroidery, cross-stitch, and many other processes. This was part of my everyday life and it impacted the trajectory of my career path early on. Through these processes I have been able to express myself and look to other artists following the same lines.”

Like many artists that work with fiber, Kinslow has an acute awareness of the history and heritage of these techniques as, "woman's work" or as menial household activities that, however important to daily life they might have once been, they were not by any means considered art.

“I want my work with textiles to give the viewer a different perspective, and provide them a place visually or physically to see that these realities are not what we may perceive them to be. They are to question what impact they themselves have on to the pieces, such as my installation work, and what their presence does to the work and their impact on their own reality.” 

Who wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to revisit the tent forts of their childhood? Kinslow’s installations are at once modern and traditional, anachronistic yet cozy. By building space that invites a viewer to sit in quiet contemplation, she explores the layers of meaning in the word “comfort” and reconnects us to the fundamental touchstones of family with a sure sense of place. The larger cultural associations can run even deeper, with the universality of a tented enclosure found in enough history to provide a common thread of understanding.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 20
Education: Currently a student at the Kentucky College of Art and Design at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky for a BFA in Painting/Drawing and Pre-Art Therapy.

"A Place For Contemplation #2" by Sarah Kinslow, 30x20in, digital photo of installation (2016)

"A Place For Contemplation #2" by Sarah Kinslow, 30x20in, digital photo of installation (2016)

"Exploration #4" by Sarah Kinslow, 6x10in, monotype dry point print (2016)

"Exploration #4" by Sarah Kinslow, 6x10in, monotype dry point print (2016)

"Fluidity" by Sarah Kinslow,  20x14in,  digital print (2016)

"Fluidity" by Sarah Kinslow, 20x14in, digital print (2016)

Sarah Kinslow (2016)

Sarah Kinslow (2016)

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting

Vignette: Jill Baker

"Grand Canal" by Jill Baker, 30x12in, oil, $2000 |  BUY NOW

"Grand Canal" by Jill Baker, 30x12in, oil, $2000 | BUY NOW

Jill Baker working on her painting "Lady In Waiting" (2016)

Jill Baker working on her painting "Lady In Waiting" (2016)

When one tries to imagine the ideal life of an artist, you might do worse than use Jill Baker’s experience as an example. Encouraged at the earliest age to make art, most notably by her artist grandmother, she majored in Fine Art in undergraduate studies at Baylor University. She traveled extensively and lived in Spain, Italy and South Korea. “In Spain I studied the masterpieces at the Prado. In Florence, Italy I painted under the masters at the Academia di Belle Arti. My work was in a major U.S. Exhibition in Paris and in Italy I was chosen for a one-person show at the prestigious Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. In Seoul, South Korea, I became an Artist In Resident and took advantage of the opportunity to create a major exhibition for the U.S. Information Services, exhibiting in the old American Embassy. I also was taken by the USIS to tour South Korean artists and universities, to lecture and lead workshops.”

For many people, that might have been enough, but Baker moved to New York City, where she exhibited, including two solos shows, before earning her MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute in NYC in 1981. Since then she has exhibited at galleries in major cities and galleries of the states of New York, California, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Evansville, Purdue University, and other institutions.

"Arizona" by Jill Baker, 60x43in, oil, collage, $5000 |  BUY NOW

"Arizona" by Jill Baker, 60x43in, oil, collage, $5000 | BUY NOW

"Gondolas in the Snow" by Jill Baker, 16x30in, oil, $5000 |  BUY NOW

"Gondolas in the Snow" by Jill Baker, 16x30in, oil, $5000 | BUY NOW

As is common with many full-time artists, Baker works on several pieces simultaneously, expressing herself in different styles. She describes her surreal collages, such as “Arizona,” as her most popular work. The upending of recognizable physical reality accomplished through the impossible juxtaposition of conflicting landscapes is compelling; a seamless merging that illustrates Baker’s great facility with medium. 

“I have sought to be true to my strengths and have resisted other occupations and callings to become and remain a visual artist. I know it is a gift I have been given and in developing it, have tried to bring new and innovative visions to it.”

In 2011-12, Baker was a Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Evansville, Evansville, IN, and since 2009 she has been Adjunct Professor, University of Southern Indiana, Department of Art, also in Evansville. In November 2016 she exhibited at Cook Studio and Gallery with Andy Cook and Debbie Welsh.

Baker is currently listed in Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Society, Who's Who in American Art, American Art Directory and Marquis Who's Who of American Women, in Community Leaders of America, Female Artists in the United States: a Research and Resource Guide, Fantastic Art and Artists Directory and the yearly listing in ArtNews.

"Madonna" by Jill Baker, 3x5in, blockprint, $200 |  BUY NOW

"Madonna" by Jill Baker, 3x5in, blockprint, $200 | BUY NOW

Public Collections
Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences, Evansville, IN
Goethe House, German Cultural Institute, New York, NY
Krannert Art Series, Purdue University, W.Lafayette IN
Bellarmine College, Merton Collection, Louisville, KY
St. Marks Priory, Fine Arts Collection, South Union, KY.
Alexander & Alexander, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska
Church of St. Thomas Aquinas, Bowling Green, KY
College of Education, Western Kentucky U., Bowling Green, KY

Selected Private Collections
Herman Rath Collection, Houston, Texas
Barton Simons Collection, Los Angeles, California
L. H. Dishman Collection, Washington, DC
Norman Wexler Collection, New York, New York
Dr. Lawrence Balter Collection, New York, New York
Wayne Kline Collection, Studio City, CA
Paul Nonte Collection, Jasper, IN

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 74
Education: BA in Fine Arts, Baylor University (Waco, Texas); studied at the Academia di Belle Arti (Florence, Italy); MFA in Painting, Pratt Institute (New York City)
Gallery Representative: Manhattan Arts (New York City); Contemporary Arts Gallery (New Harmony, Indiana)
Website: http://www.jillbaker.com

"Sotto Porto" by Jill Baker, 24x36in, oil, NFS

"Sotto Porto" by Jill Baker, 24x36in, oil, NFS

"Goddess" by Jill Baker, 18x10in, monotype collage, $500 |  BUY NOW

"Goddess" by Jill Baker, 18x10in, monotype collage, $500 | BUY NOW

"Seated on Rug" by Jill Baker, 36x48in, oil, $5000 |  BUY NOW

"Seated on Rug" by Jill Baker, 36x48in, oil, $5000 | BUY NOW

Jill Baker working on her painting "Summer Sidewalk In Paris"

Jill Baker working on her painting "Summer Sidewalk In Paris"

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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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)


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


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