June 12, 2015

Concepts and Challenges – AAC Resident Artist Pam Rogers’ Field Investigations

Can you imagine having to wait for just the right flower to bloom before being able to create a body of work? For rising artists, putting on an exhibition can be both exhilarating and challenging, often in unexpected ways.

AAC Resident Artist Pam Rogers recently opened Field Investigations, a solo show at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. When we asked Pam to share the concepts and challenges of this exhibition, this is what she had to say:

What is the concept for the show, or body of work:

Pam Rogers, 'Mrs. Stewarts #1.' Ferric hexacyanoferrate, graphite, ink. 11x16 in.
Pam Rogers, ‘Mrs. Stewarts #1.’ Ferric hexacyanoferrate, graphite, ink. 11×16 in.

I was asked over a year ago to mount a body of work for the Lewis Gintner Botanical Garden in Richmond.  I started thinking at the time that I wanted it to relate to the amazing gardens themselves, as well as be work that is close to my heart and what I create.

Thinking of the two together, I started pulling source material about the types of plants grown in the gardens, the Richmond area and what plants they felt are highlights of the gardens.

This was the basis for the work- and I branched out to not only using images of specific plants in the gardens in my work but also experimenting with making paint from some of the leaves and bark and plants that they have.

I was successful with some and not so much with others.  The highlight was being able to use the interior anthers of the Daylily to get a soft yellow all the way to a deep almost ochre color.  This was different for me than other solo exhibitions as I wanted the entire show to be grounded in the site.  The gardens are so dramatic that I wanted the work to reflect the site specifically.

What were the challenges of mounting this show:

Pam Rogers, Summer Soltice, mulberry pigments and ink, graphite and saffron. 28x34 in.
Pam Rogers, ‘Summer Soltice.’ Mulberry pigments, ink, graphite, saffron. 28×34 in.

There were several challenges associated with this exhibition.  I had never seen the space before and was not familiar with how the space would accommodate the work.

I wasn’t able to show work that was unframed, which limited some of the options I have used before like being able to hang scrolls and mulberry paper pieces directly on the wall.

I had to trust that the space would work with what I was arriving with and all would work together cohesively.

I had seen images of the gallery spaces and they seemed dark and “hallway like” but when I arrived I was stunned by the amazing architectural aspects in the space.

The building is amazing and the gallery is framed by architectural details that enhance how you view the work and how the work is placed within the space. It was a wonderful surprise.  I had to trust that the space would work with what I was arriving with and all would work together cohesively.

Another challenge was that the winter was long and the spring cold which delayed the growth and what was available to make paint from. I was working up to the last minute trying to get plants that I knew would be blooming as the work was hung.

Pam’s show is on view until August 11. If you’re down in the Richmond area looking for something to do, go check it out!

About the Artist:

Pam Rogers, Muses fates furies, plant and soil pigments, ink, graphite. 22x18 in.
Pam Rogers, ‘Muses, Fates, Furies.’ Plant and soil pigments, ink, graphite. 22×18 in.

A fascination with nature is the basis for Pam Rogers art practice, and manifests itself in paintings, drawings, sculptures and installation. Her work explores how individuals nurture and develop relationships, societies, and ideas, and then create carefully crafted identities based in these themes, all in the context of organic imagery. The organic materials in the work have been collected from various locations throughout the US.

Rogers received her MFA from Savannah College of Arts and Design, and her BA in Art History from Wellesley College.

She has had residencies at DCAC, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, Ox-Bow Art Center/Art Institute of Chicago, Centrum Arts Center, Port Townsend WA, and she was a visiting artist at Trinity School in Atlanta. She teaches, works as an illustrator for the Natural History Museum, curates exhibitions, and exhibits her own work throughout the US.

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