I have three passions in my life. My family, my work, and my photography. I will leave it up to you to decide their order of importance. I can only say that my life would be incomplete without all three of them. Obviously there are more but these are the three things that occupy my conscience being at any given moment.
For those who have known me for a long time would wonder “What about golf?” I would answer that anything, action, or person that would treat me as badly as golf has cannot be considered a passion in my life. Golf! She is a harsh and unforgiving mistress, which I shall not suffer anymore. Except of course on those rare occasions where it is an event type format.
My family is the wonderful woman I married 39 years ago. She is my best friend, life partner, and I love her dearly. My Daughter who is building a great life with a wonderful man and they now have a three children, Joshua, Gabby, and Austin. My Son has become an incredible salesperson and is now managing a sales department for one of the largest retail businesses in Cedar Rapids.
My work is and always has been centered on helping people and providing service to others. Doing something for people that perhaps they cannot do for themselves. It was why I originally got into law enforcement and it is why I later turned to the development and nurturing of human resources in the work environment. This work gives me purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.
My photography, which has been a part of my life since my parents (who were very poor) first helped me buy (I had a paper route at 9) a Brownie 127 film camera. 1977 I bought my first 35mm film camera and thought I had made the big times. In 2000 I bought my first digital camera and it unlocked a fire storm in me that wanted to create images and capture memories. Today I have four Nikon DSLRs and yes it is way more equipment then I need but I am truly happiest when I have a camera in my hand and up to my eye. So if it is more than I need then I am guilty of being selfish but hopefully the images I capture will bring others the same level of enjoyment they provide for me.
For the last nine years in particular I have read books, taken on-line classes and studied hard to understand the art of photography. I smile inwardly when someone pays me the highest complement that I have” a gifted eye for photography” because I now know the work and diligence that has gone into that. I probably will get this quote wrong but it goes something like “ability is when loads of practice and opportunity come together.” I know that’s not right but you get the meaning that is intended.
And this is who I am.
May 3 – June 28, 2018
Sculptural paper artist Dawn Wohlford learned how to make paper at a workshop in New York City during the National Art Educator’s conference in 1983. Afterwards, she went back to Northeast Missouri State University and read everything she could find about the craft, experimenting as much as possible with improvised equipment. Then, with Bachelors degree in hand, she headed west to learn from the “man who wrote the book.” Upon arrival at Arizona State University, she discovered that Jules Heller (Papermaking) was on sabbatical that semester, so she would have to trust John Risseeuw to impart this wisdom. It turned out that Risseeuw was also a nationally known papermaker and he taught everything from the history of papermaking to how to make a perfect sheet of paper and so much more. After an intensive (and wet) semester in the paper lab, Dawn headed to Colorado where she became an apprentice to internationally known papermaker, Raymond Tomasso. There, she assisted in the production of paper for another famous artist, R.C. Gorman, and produced 150 sheets of nearly identical denim papers for a limited edition book, Strange Papers, that was assembled and bound in Germany. Once she had established residency in Colorado, she entered the graduate program at the University of Colorado in Boulder where she obtained an MFA in sculpture in 1988. In 1998, she moved back to her hometown in Iowa. She is currently the Visual Arts Director for Quad City Arts, Rock Island, Illinois where she oversees two art galleries and a public sculpture program. Additionally, she serves on the Acquisitions Committee for the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, teaches workshops on papermaking, and creates sculptural pieces using handmade paper and found or recycled materials.
I could be the Poster Child for the slogan “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.” Handmade paper is the basis for the majority of my artwork, but I often incorporate, weave or build using other found materials. I use old clothes, dead plants, shredded money, and items such as used up doormats (made of natural fibers) to make paper pulp. I cast or incorporate pieces of rusty metal, vintage glass, bicycle inner tubes, leather and anything else that catches my eye. Pieces are often finished with pigment to achieve the appearance of metal.
My approach to art making is methodical. Each piece is carefully planned and goes through several time intensive processes before reaching its final state. Each stage informs and alters the finished piece. The finished piece aspires to be both a beautiful object and a thought provoking or humorous reflection.
Most recently, the plight of bees, as well as the construction of their hives (which is a form of papermaking) has captured my interest. Recent pieces reflect thoughts about the structure of beehives and how they are similar to human homes as not only a supposedly safe haven, but a place to work and create.
More to follow
July 2 – August 30, 2018
Vero Rose Smith is a photographer, painter, and designer currently based in Iowa City, Iowa. Her recent work has focused on collective memory, the intersection of humanity and environment, and social justice. She is the Assistant Curator for the Legacies for Iowa Collections-Sharing Project at the University of Iowa Museum of Art.
FRIGID, DREAMING ISLAND Exhibit
Artist Statement: An overt confluence of culture and military history has deeply affected both the Icelandic and American sense of identity. America is a country locked and loaded. America always wins. Iceland has never had a military of its own, though Icelanders do love their Coast Guard. To Iceland, international military presence and attention was a veritable bridge (rainbow or otherwise) into modernity. Previously an isolated fishing culture known best for nearly-magical knitwear and Nordic ancestry, Iceland was catapulted to the forefront of communications technology during the Cold War. Improbably, the frigid, dreaming island entered a period of international importance and military strategery that has yet to end. Iceland is between, its twentieth century political importance mirroring plate tectonics. So Iceland became the spoiled child of divorce, Russia and America attempting to win the country’s affections through increasingly expensive gifts. Both superpowers wooed Icelanders with film strips, each reel designed to subtly seduce. However, Americans showered the island with surveillance instruments, airplanes, and a new economy. And NATO (the new boyfriend) kept Russia at arms length. For Iceland, military involvement was passive and externally applied. Conversely, the American military complex is the embodiment of nationhood. Regardless, the history is partially shared. These photographs document the former (soon to be re-militarized) NATO base, located near Keflavík.
Painting series,“Mediated Moons” | A meditation on personal data and the feminine body.
Artist Statement: In an age of easily quantified selfhood, what data points matter? What (if any) combination of meticulously measured steps, heartbeats, breaths, posts, and tweets can accurately reflect a fully human experience? Are these discrete values digitally gathered more valuable than bodily observations? Can a mobile device tell us something more important than the moon? Long a symbol connected to the divinity of fertility, the moon is a menstrual sentinel, a marker of time for both the earth and for the individual human observer. For the month of May 2016, I recorded my dreams. I then mapped my dream-remembrances onto the corresponding moon phase and created a series of stencils. Finally, I produced tonal paintings meant to emulate the emotional context of each dream, and married these stenciled surfaces to mirrors. I am currently working on a web-based application to allow users to create their own moon-dream stencils in real time.
December 1, 2019 – January 30, 2020
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