“Drip, Blow, Burn, and Sunrise in Jackson County”
A One of a Kind Exhibit, You Will Want to See
Ellen Wagener says she knew her life’s calling before she hit kindergarten.
“I really wanted to be an artist, because when I grew up in DeWitt, there was a mural in the post office done by John Bloom,” she said of the native DeWitt artist known as both a Grant Wood protege and as sculptor Isabel Bloom’s husband.
“It was mesmerizing to me, because it was the first real painting I’d ever seen. I was stunned,” she recalled of her weekly trips to the post office. “This painting really captivated me and I was committed, by the time I was 4 or 5 years old and finger painting, that I was going to be an artist.” And indeed she has.
After graduating from the University of Iowa and Corcoran College of Art and Design, part of George Washington University in the District of Columbia, she returned to her home state with a new perspective. I am inspired by traditions of the Hudson River School, American Luminism, and early twentieth century photographers. An observer of atmospheric and tactile qualities of land and sky, I create meticulous drawings evocative of luminous silver-gelatin photographs, built from sketches, memory, and photographs, revisiting sites to observe changes in crops, weather, or vantage point.
“Connecting to where I grew up was really a mission for me at the time,” said Wagener, who also taught at the former Marycrest International University in Davenport.
Now living in Scottsdale, Ariz., the 50-year-old Wagener waxes poetic about her home state, the rhythmic patterns in the Iowa cornfields and how the soybeans change color from “emerald green to golden amber to rusty red.”
Nearly 15 years ago she moved to the Southwest, making her homecomings all the sweeter, she said.
(Excerpt from the QCT)
Public Reception |Friday, September 8, 5pm – 7pm
September 2, 2017 – October 30, 2017
Meet the Artists | Friday, September 8, 5pm – 7pm
Joseph Lappie is an Associate Professor in Art at St. Ambrose University, teaching book arts, printmaking & papermaking. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, with his artist’s books in over three-dozen special collections across the country including Yale, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin. He received a BFA in Painting and a BFA in Graphic Design at Ball State University and a MFA in Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago.Andrew Huot is a book artist and bookbinder in Atlanta, Georgia. His artwork uses the book form to mark his observations about his surroundings. He uses marks, maps, photographs, and patterns to take our surroundings and abstract them, making them public as well as personal. He operates Big River Bindery, a shop for bookmaking and letterpress printing, book repair, and design. He has a Masters in Book Arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and teaches bookbinding and preservation for the University of Illinois, and conservation for the International Preservation Studies Center. He exhibits his work widely and it is held in over 50 university library collections.