Jennifer Gillia Cutshall
STORIED 2: Drawn to the Light; AGK artists reveal the allure of the abundant spirit within the story
"For me, "Generous Kingdom" is a metaphor for a world filled with riches hiding in plain sight...rain drops on a spider's web...a milkweed seed floating through the air, or a hollow in a tree stump. The latter is the basis for "The Observer." The tree is long gone, but a magical ecosystem thrives. The Kingdom provides--all we have to do is stop and take notice."
"For me, abundance is about balance and I feel the most in balance when I am creative and creating. When I am regularly nurturing my creative process I feel the most in balance with the rest of my life. Balance allows me to experience the abundance in life, the beauty and pain of my innerworld and my outerworld struggling to find harmony, spurring on even more creativity. It is my life's journey to foster this cycle of creativity, balance, and abundance."
"I was drawn to this call for art because it encompassed the reasons I had created “Dear America”. This painting was created when I was living in New York in 2017 as a reaction to the social and political divisions that were visible throughout the country at that time. My intent was to create an image that overshadowed this and instead symbolized unity, humanity and connection."
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”
Neil Gaiman (quote selected by artist Saira Grube)
"I began to make mixed media collages in March of 2020 when thee we coronavirus lockdown started. Art became my silver lining during difficult times. My collages evolved and morphed into unexpected worlds in which my imagination could travel. They became richly textured and satisfyingly tactile- encrusted with many layers of paper, ink, and paint that formed curiously welcoming worlds full of submerged imagery.
Within their depths, there lives a delicate intensity filled with various hidden treasures, dilapidated dwellings, odd creatures and unusual remnants of long forgotten artifacts. My art reflects my love for the depths of the ocean, rambling wild gardens, and most importantly, the often unrecognized beauty that happens as nature slowly overtakes civilization. I often finds that that when I create a piece, it evolves unexpectedly, almost as though it has an energy and a life all of its own."
"Stories may provoke emotional responses, bringing joy, sadness, rage, guilt, pride. But for the story to contribute to a person's understanding of the world they have to be able to reach in and find ways to connect the story to their own lives. So I see myself as less a storyteller than a collaborator, spreading open a doorway between my work and the observer's experience."
“We often argue that humans are destroying the earth. But without humans, this planet would be spiritually barren, with just the law of the jungle. Art is the reflection of human spirituality. Art develops at a higher level in regions where civilization is more developed. And the advancement of art in turn affects the global progress of civilization. The art I want to do is the same thing. I wish to explore the direction of humanity and civilization via art. Inspired by this, my later works shifted to a surrealist style based on reality yet differed from it, conveying a false sense of truth."
"I am drawn to visualizing aspects of the embedded past to reveal actions performed by the inhabitants occupying particular spaces and places. I concentrate on the mediation of animals in many contexts and the dioramas of natural history museums provide an immersive environment for this concentration. The dioramas prompt reactions of wonderment and awe as we encounter and experience their meticulously fabricated scenes. The settings are analog versions of virtual reality, designed to fascinate. I think about the people responsible for these sets, the researchers, scientists, hunters, financiers, laborers, technicians, and artists. I think about how the non-visible actions during the stages of the creation process within the dioramas but are unseen, represented only in the files of the institution’s archives. I felt an energy within images at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, one of a quest to be seen. My attempt then was to pair these dimensions, allow them to present as an integral part of the living image."
“One of the basic principals of art is the absence of lying. It means creating greater vision and greater sanity. When basic goodness is not expressed what you do is neurotic and destructive. This means that an artist's production, manifestation, demonstration, and performance should be geared to waking people up from their neurosis."
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
(Quote selection by Tom Acevedo)
"I visit a land called Pareidolia, a land of strange beings, strange deities, strange structures. Strange, but not threatening; the strangeness of awe, not of menace. I often think I’m just sending picture postcards from my journeys. “Having a fine time, wish you were here.”
"In my underwater work I seek moments of sublime peace (that fine line where the conscious and subconscious meet) and the creative chaotic (where energy is released, that fine line is broken, and the potential becomes kinetic). I see the water as a metaphor for a dream medium and I try to meet my subjects on that boundary and hope that we are able to take the viewer from tranquil peace to a burst of creation and back again."
"Telling stories, especially telling personal stories, is a large part of my art practice. This quilt tells my growing up story in midcentury America- wearing white gloves to Sunday School, hand-in-hand with my mother, and with my father who always wore a bow tie. Dolls were a favorite toy, and I still interact with dolls, taking them apart to use the individual parts, or reusing vintage doll clothing. I have fond memories of this time in my life, before it became complicated, as it does for almost all families, and all people. There are no perfect childhoods, or families. It is a myth that can harm if that is what one strives for."
"The process I follow for my Quantum Drawings is to create an array of randomized marks on a surface over time. Whether using left over paint or just making scribbles on a piece. I allow the marks to saturate the surface in an unconscious manner.
Then utilizing time and observation I leave the pieces in view in the studio occasionally turning them to allow the marks to activate a connection. Then one day a scene will appear in the marks, either a single figure or entire scene will suggest itself out of the randomized marks. I will then go in and emphasize their presence while leaving enough randomized marks to show the process of how they emerged.
In this way I’m playing with the concept of the wave collapse model where a scientist will observe a particle only after they assume they will see one within a wave field. Reality is created by the observer. By allowing a narrative to emerge on its own is a melding of the observer (me) with what is being presented to create the reality of the piece.
This is what we all do everyday, project a narrative onto what we are perceiving from our own experience. The Quantum Drawing process is a micro example of how we use stories to sort reality."