Balance artistic curiosity, experimentation and play with deepening your practice.
In this episode of Artists Network’s Art Bound podcast, host and K Contemporary gallery owner Doug Kacena dives in to a thoughtful, wide-ranging conversation with artists Ashley Eliza Williams and Andrew Jensdotter. The three trade thoughts and ideas for integrating play and curiosity into artistic experimentation, keeping your own traditions alive while bringing in the new, working with collaborators, and allowing your work to change as your life changes.
About the Artists
Ashley Eliza Williams received her BA from the University of Virginia and her MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was a recent participant in MASS MoCA’s A4A North Adams Project and has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Millay Colony, RedLine Denver, Alte Schule in Germany and Shangyuan Art Museum in China. Her work has been shown at K Contemporary in Denver, Hersbruck Museum in Germany, The National Center for Atmospheric Research, Bronx Museum project space, and the University of Colorado Art Museum. Williams has taught at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She is a member of the research-based art collective Sprechgesang Institute and currently lives in South Hadley, Mass. See more of her work at ashleyelizawilliams.com and on Instagram @ashleyelizawilliams.
Andrew Jensdotter is a visual artist based in Denver. He received his MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2014. He is currently represented by K Contemporary in Denver. Jensdotter’s work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions internationally including Zonamaco with Galeria Hilario Galguera, Untitled in Miami, Jackson Hole Fine Art Fair, and PULSE Miami. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver featured Jensdotter’s work in a solo show titled Flak, and his work is featured in prominent collections throughout the United States and abroad, including a recent acquisition by the Denver Art Museum. Jensdotter received a visiting artist fellowship at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Colo., in 2020, and is scheduled for a solo show at K Contemporary gallery in Denver in the spring of 2021. See more of his work on Instagram @studiojensdotter.
Starting With a Question
Ashley Williams: Being an artist is an excuse to explore, and to investigate, and a lot of my experiments start with a question. A question that I’ve been asking myself over and over is, “How do you make a painting that looks alive?” Then I’ll write down words like heat, or fur, or breath, or sensitive antennae, or tremble. Then I’ll go through the list and look at heat, and think, okay, how do you make a painting that looks hot? Do you use color, do you use texture? So a lot of the experimentation comes from iterating with language. And then eventually that turns into a painting.
“Poetry, Luck, and Surgery“
Andrew Jensdotter: Richard Diebenkorn, one of my favorite artists, said something to the effect of, all great art is comprised of one part poetry, one part luck, one part surgery. And in a way, you can experiment with all three of those things, right? Once you’ve become very skilled at a thing, it’s the surgery, the thing that helps you create the form. The luck? That’s the happy accident. The tricky thing is the poetry. How do you experiment with poetry? I don’t know, I’m halfway into my art career and still trying to figure out that elixir, the poetic part of art.
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