I spent a good part of the past four weeks at an artist residency in Nebraska City, right on the Missouri river across from Iowa. The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (KHN) was my host– and a damn good one. If you are looking for a residency with very little outside distractions, comfortable accommodations and an excellent letterpress studio, this is the place for you. This was my second time at KHN–so I arrived knowing full well that there really are no distractions. Very quickly you realize that the only thing to do is go to your studio, so you do, and that’s when the magic happens.
Many people wondered what a residency in Nebraska must be like after six-weeks in Venice. My response is PERFECT. I needed some place where I could work and process all that I have experienced in the past few months. (Did I mention that in the past 20 weeks, I have spent only 24 days in my own bed? That’s a lot to process.) I gave myself permission to do whatever I wanted, to follow my whims and to not be concerned about making anything worthy of my upcoming exhibit, Wayfinding at MCLA’s Gallery 51.
What fun! I started making these great drawings that pick-up on some elements of the artist books that I created in Venice. And the best part–they WILL be part of the exhibit. I need to make seven small ones (18×48 inches), finish the large one (4×8 feet) and make a second large one (4×4 feet). AND, I have to make 300 three-dimensional dots. Notice the common element…lots of little dots. Lots of them. Endless dots. I dream about them. They are all I want to make right now. Thankfully. I don’t know why, but I love them.
The exhibit opens July 28th at 5 pm. MCLA’s Gallery 51, big thanks to them and to the Massachusetts Cultural Council that awarded me an independent artist grant to do this work.
So why is the post called Running to Iowa?
Nebraska City is about two miles from the Iowa border–which is at the center of the Missouri river reachable via an interstate bridge. The thought of running to Iowa captivated me the first time I was here, but I was too chicken to do it. I ran to the bridge a couple of times at my regular weekday time, but by 7:45 am the semi-trucks were already out in full force. I determined that Sunday at 7 am might have the least amount of semi-truck traffic for me to run on the barely two foot brim of the bridge. And I was right. It was the last thing I did in Nebraska before beginning my return back to Massachusetts.
The large drawing is about running to Iowa–about all those things we obsess about, that we try to reach over and over again but our fear gets in the way and prevents us, until one day it doesn’t. This drawing is dedicated to all of us who overcome those little and big fears that keep us from our dreams, however small or large.