Melinda Kiefer. mixed media
Long Island, New York
"It is invaluable to have a supportive community of artists during this time. I am excited to meet and connect with other creatives virtually!!
(These are) in-progress images of a current project, Spring Cycles: Eternal Return, for the virtual exhibition, "What is the Egg?"
"I am currently researching and writing an article that investigates the interconnected role of deep ecology, land practices, and devotional spaces which I intend to publish in support of my upcoming installation in Owning Earth, a 2 year outdoor exhibition at the Unison Arts Center in New Paltz, NY starting this fall. The exhibit includes an emerging movement of artists whose practice directly explores our relationship to land. I personally will be creating a large scale sculpture called a "Grottoship" that will combine Earthship sustainable housing design elements with Italian American folk art yard aesthetics. The show will be accompanied by a large selection of public programming. We are currently having Zoom artist panels about our work every other Sunday. I will be presenting in the group, On Roots and Rooting, Sunday, May 17, 4pm EST. The link to information about the exhibition and video panels is : https://www.unisonarts.org/owning-earth
My partner, Christopher Santiago, also was just accepted into the residency. We live together and often collaborate in our practices. We both had been living in an artist house in Brooklyn, NY and have relocated to the much less densely populated Long Island, NY with family for shelter in place. This has significantly changed our practice as we have to scale down and mostly work outside. We have a multimedia immersive installation show scheduled for September at Hilo Art in Catskill, NY.
What do you miss most right now?
I miss being able to see and hug my family.
What do you wish you could do creatively at this moment in time?
I am fortunate to have more personal time to work on art as a result of the pandemic, but I wish I could work large scale, get messy in a studio, and collaborate with others either in a performance or in a group exhibition. I have two exhibitions planned for this summer, one is an ambitious two year long outdoor environmental installation and the other is an indoor immersive installation that are postponed (as many things are). I wish I could continue to find meaningful creative connections and communities.
What are your goals for yourself during residency?
I have several goals for my artist self in residency. I intend to feel empowered, to explore and become fluent and creative in various digital media artist tools such as for video art and sound art. I plan to incorporate these methods into my existing interdisciplinary painting, installation, performance practice. I plan to also use this time for slowing down my thinking, looking, being and to paint from nature. There are many trees around me, whose shapes are incredible for inspiration. I will take the time to connect with and record my immediate physical environment as well as innovate with technological tools. While slowing down, I intend to take the time to create art that feels deeply authentic as it will be coming from a removed, introspective place. I plan to also collaborate on nature sensory inspired paintings with my partner. I also began and intend to finish a research article on grottos, spirituality, land art, and ecology for my outdoor installation in the "Owning Earth" exhibition at the Unison Arts Center, in New Paltz, NY. Depending on the indeterminate length of quarantine, I hope to write more articles on art, feminism, and ecology. I am also working on a small scale circular assemblage series of work relating to the cycles of the female body and the earth using collected nature materials with paint, wood, and collage. These goals will evolve with the length of shelter in place.
What would you like to have accomplished by the end of this residency?
I would like to have an overall heightened sense of breadth and depth of artistic work by the end of the residency. I would like to have gained versatility in new media as well as going further into practices I have been developing for decades. I intend to finish writing and editing articles related to themes in my visual art practice. I hope to use the time to make artwork that feels transformative and rooted in history as well as lived experience. I intend to use this time to make work in a way that would have been difficult even almost impossible to create during the usual pace of modern life. I also hope to continue to connect with other artists and innovative thinkers and establish community despite quarantine.
How can you creatively overcome these challenges?
I am working on drawings, paintings, and assemblages on a small scale which is fulfilling by the nature of their humility and resourcefulness. Perhaps they can be combined into a larger format later as a series. I am exploring creativity virtually which is something that has intimidated me in the past. I am now eager to self educate on various video and digital art formats to expand my practice. I am still connecting with others online such as participating in video artist talks, and gratefully am living with my shelter in place partner who is also an artist. I am also sinking into the extra time to further research themes in my art practice and to explore writing and publishing articles and artist books.