Borough’s own Emily Wilson currently has her show up at Studio Place Art in Barre.  She’s got site specific works crawling the walls, a chandelier in the stairwell, a quilt that can’t stop gazing at you and perhaps her most novel series to date, “Odds N Ends.”  We could certainly go on about why you need to see this show, maybe while hitting up BASH this coming Saturday, but we won’t.  Emily was also interviewed in the latest Art New England and we decided to ask her some questions ourselves, her as in us, like she and we… oh you get the idea.

"Patience." Braids, paper and yarn. 2010

Borough Gallery: You say the new works in Springing Through Space are unabashedly intended for visual pleasure and also to create awareness of space they hang in.  So what is the pleasure of space?  How is space exciting in a way material objects are not?

Emily Wilson: Looking at spaces create opportunity. I have done so many projects over the course of my short lifetime. I have tried so many new materials, worked and reworked old projects, worked academically, worked independently and can sustainably operate a studio space, have worked within a variety of art institutions- under artists and personal career endeavors.I feel trapped not incorporating all that I have learned from each endeavor that I have had artistically and creatively. Looking at spaces give me a chance to incorporate the many areas that I find of interest. When I encounter a new space or opportunity to show or create within a space- I take it on as a privilege and in a sense want to be able to expose all that I discovered of interest within the space and in turn visually expose all that I can do with it  to viewers. With each endeavor that I have with a new space, I learn something  that in turn inspires, limits or expands ideas I had originally planned for. Which stimulates new interests and  need of obtaining some more the necessary skills in order to create the works I want to. Things that are essential to me as an developing artist.

"Mustard" from Odds N Ends series. Mixed media on glass. 2010

BG:For this show, where have you pushed yourself?  What is it about this space, or what you’ve done with your new work that both integrates what you know and pushes you someplace new?

EW:This show has been a tremendous test of my ability to plan, organize, manipulate and devise ideas. The work incorporates and expands on all these areas and the physical installation of the show challenged me in new ways. Not only was my focus on building new works in the studio, I had to plan for transportation and manage time well, once arriving on site. Each piece became a series in itself, explicitly because of the process and agenda of getting it to Studio Place Arts. I was forced to figure out what was the best order of operations as far as construction, transportation and installation goes. I used my experience from hanging previous shows for Borough and what I have witnessed as an artist assistant during Fleming exhibitions, in order to prepare for my first solo-show. Watching other artists methods of installation allowed me to problem solve the issues and constraints of my pieces. The fact that this is a solo show, really pushed me to think about what exactly I wanted to express to viewers and made me realize I have an opportunity as an artist to showcase what it is that I do. For me, having this show to work on brought my methods to a whole new level and allowed me to look at myself as a developing artist and realize all that I hope to learn in order to show at the level I am interested in.

BG: How does seeing other artists hang their work, wether that art is or is not as concerned with the gallery space as your work, affect your own?  What are some “positive” realizations and some “negative” realizations about your own work from looking at others?  Perhaps an example?

EW: From my experience and from watching other artists I have learned being an installation artist, perhaps being any type artist- that your skills are developed from a variety of areas and everything that you do learn, from one thing to another is multifaceted and re- purposed for your specific creative needs. Carpentry skills, hardware, surfaces and finishes, safety, ladders; are all new things to me in the last years. I am lucky I have gained some experience with various building methods and a tremendous capacity to problem solve from my parents and UVM, but I am yet to feel truly confident in the wood shop. There are things I want to build and install, that I know I can’t do because I don’t have the skills yet . I am looking to refine my focus on craftsmanship and quality pieces. Things that can exist beyond a one time installation. For example, “Move Past 2, to 3.” better known as the wooden box- installation, is the first site specific piece I designed for the studio and when I realized my carpentry skills lacked. The piece consists of 9 wooden boxes suspended by hook and eye hardware with certain embellishments lineally placed within the edges. I would not have been able to build this piece solo. I had designed the project explicitly on paper and shared it with a friend of mine who works for Wanamaker Restoratoration, who has access to a great salesroom and wood shop on Pine Street, conveniently around the corner from the studio. We created a sort of assembly line to complete the project, and I learned the ropes as far as hook and eye hardware and drills go. Now, I own a drill. Which enables me to do things like I have done at Studio Place Arts. I have also taken an intro class to PhotShop, which has enabled me to take spaces home and try examples of my work on the walls so I don’t get to a space with a quilt that’s three inches longer than the wall or realize that hanging 10 bike rims in 8 foot space might be a little crowded. Because of these developments, I have seen the quality of my work rise. However, it makes me realize how far I have come as a developing artist. In addition to the realization of how much more I am going to make, because I have time to learn the necessary skills and explore the things that interest me, I just have to pace myself.

Untitled. BLUES. SPA site specific Installation. Fibers and nails. 2010

BG: Have you ever considered taking your art outside a gallery, into a public or out-of-the-way space?  Is there some space you see your work going?

EW: I have done two pieces in public in out of the way spaces. One of which, I think includes “Looking Inside Out”, outside our gallery door and the other was, in my then backyard on Weston Street in 2007. I did a site specific piece that was best viewed from an aerial perspective, and designed to be seen explicitly from my bedroom, which was at the very top and in the eave of the three story Victorian style-duplex. I have been thinking about this installation recently and the things that explicitly worked about and within this site. I think looking at non-traditional, public, or independent sites has a lot of possibility for my work and might enabled me to extend my palette in a new and unique direction. I like the idea of incorporating art in nature. Especially organic images created from clearly non-organic materials or essentially purposeless items. My parents were landscape designers and had the capacity to transform outdoor spaces, just by highlighting a few key elements. Whether it was aesthetic purposes, structural, conservation or environmental, landscape design takes on some of the same roles as installation design. I would like to find a blending of these areas and possibly capitalize on the essence of surprise and freedom viewers have when you liberate art to the other side of the gallery walls.

Drawing on Inspiration. BLUE. mixed media on paper. 2010

BG: Have you ever been in a social situation and thought, “I’m bored.  I’d rather be working on my art,” and then mentally disengaged with your physical self and the engagement you were trapped in?  Have you ever gotten caught in the act?

EW: That very situation happens everyday. Especially in the afternoons after I have been working all morning. When my flow is abundant and I have been able to engage in one project or one aspect of a project for hours, my mind will stay actively part of it for hours. This also happens most frequently when I am someplace where I feel trapped or stuck. I daydream of my new projects or ways to enhance the projects I am working on now. I haven’t got caught per say, but people definitely know I am thinking about my own things and have mentioned so. Ive never been so fixated that I can’t do the task at hand, but it is possible that’s all that I have been thinking about while I have been there. Im good at multi -tasking, so sometimes I feel like I am always tyring to find something useful for my projects from my “life” situations. I kinda use life skills and the things that work within the sturcture of day to day life to structure my life for art.

Emily’s show “Springing Through Space” will be hanging at Studio Place Arts, 201 North Main Street, Barre VT, until April 17th.

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