My Grandmother’s Story | A Powerful Statement on The History Of Mental Health
Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Thursday, July 6, 2017
Meet the Artist | Friday, May 26, 2017, 5pm – 7pm (Kathy will be presenting at 6:00 pm)
My charcoal drawings were created to give my grandmother Frances a voice. On October. 25, 1941, my grandmother was committed to the insane asylum in Independence, Iowa. She spent the next 15 years there until she was moved to a nursing home where she died five years later. Never knowing my grandmother and wanting to understand why she was committed I went to Independence where I was able to get her records. II pieced together her story through these
records and family memories.
I choose charcoal for my medium to better express the darkness of her story. I present my drawings unframed as I did not want to put another barrier between my grandmother and the viewer.
In the three years I worked on this project I have been very moved by all the people who have entered my studio and shared with me their stories of the effects of mental illness on their families. I was drawing for my grandmother but came to see there was a much larger audience.
Some of the comments viewers of these drawings have made:
– “I found myself looking unable to turn away.”
– “I left speechless with memories and emotions. Although my time in a mental hospital was short, you portrayed everything so wonderfully it hits me deep.”
– “What I think is incredible is that with only charcoal and paper you gave her a voice louder than audible words.”
– “You have spoken for so many silenced women.”
Born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa I currently make my home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where I work out of my studio in the historic Cherry Building located in NewBo. I am largely self-taught including numerous portrait workshops by nationally known artists, classes at Mt. Mercy University and Kirkwood Community College. I continue my study of figurative drawing at Sunday life drawing at Coe College. I have done commission portraits and my artwork has appeared at various venues, including the Campbell Steele Gallery in Marion, Ia and CSPS in Cedar Rapids. My medium is charcoal, oil and acrylic.
My interest in portraiture has as much to do with emotion as it does in getting a likeness. I find myself drawn to a pose where the subject is looking into the eyes of the viewer creating an intimacy between the viewer and the subject. Iapproach my work with an inspiration and then take time to search art books and magazines and online to see how other artists have handled similar creations. I admire the work of Mary Cassatt and Jenny Saville, especially Jenny’s drawings of her pregnant with her one year old squirming in her arms.
- Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Tuesday, July 6, 2017Artist Reception |Friday, May 26, 2017, 5pm – 7pmFree and Open to the Public
Pauline is a self taught artist winning a number of first place ribbons from area shows and has chosen to move beyond fabric to add metal, paper, paints and dyes to her work. With that change in direction she has been accepted into 7 shows of which 4 were juried at the Dubuque Museum of Art. This past September as part of a Fiber Arts group she exhibited her work at the Maquoketa Art Experience in Maquoketa. IA.
Pauline lives and works in Dubuque, IA. In May 2000 Pauline co-curated a traditional quilt show held at the Dubuque Museum of Art. For the past 7 years she has judged Needlework at the Dubuque County Fair.
This exhibit features several distinct art forms such as Notan, Encaustic, Eco and other dyeing processes, Art Quilts and 3 dimensional work.
Notan is a Japanese word meaning dark – light. It is an interaction between positive (light) and negative (dark) space
Encaustic means “to burn” and is art that uses melted beeswax applied to an absorbent surface on a rigid substrate. Adding wax gives an art piece a certain luminosity and glow and because of the layering aspect creates mystery and a dreamlike aspect that I really like.
Eco dyeing is a new form for me after doing so much sun printing, discharge dyeing and Shibori dyeing. Eco dyeing developed and was popularized by Australian, India Flint and is created by placing plant material on natural fiber fabric or watercolor paper. The fabric is bundled over a metal rod and tied tightly on or in the case of paper clipped tightly. The bundles are placed in a pot of simmering water that also has plant material and other additives such as tea or coffee grounds or metal and then “cooked” for several hours and left in the pot overnight. The next day the bundles are taken out of the pot to dry for several days. At that point they can be unrolled but still need to rest for 5 to 7 days before they can be gently washed. The prints that result are a reflection of the natural world of the dyer and in my case consists of oak leaves, maple leaves and eucalyptus leaves as well as such diverse additions as carrot slices, pomegranate seeds and even pickling spice. Each piece is unique and lends itself to hand embroidery very
Art quilts are a mixed bag as I love abstract work using dyed fabric, metals and other odd additives
**Several pieces feature paper and metal as the juxtaposition between fragile and strong are as impressive in contrast as the Notan’s black and white aspect as works depicting extremes.