Immersive Art Explores the Outdoors at the Sechrest Gallery of Art at High Point University October 25 – December 17, 2021

Thank you Yes! Weekly for covering my upcoming exhibit at the Sechrest Gallery of Art at High Point University. Read it on Yes! Weekly (and see all the images) or read on for the text.

(September 22, 2021, Winston-Salem, NC) Award-winning artist Jessica Singerman announces her exhibition of works entitled OF STONES AND EARTH AND AIR opening at the Sechrest Gallery of Art at High Point University on October 25 and continuing through December 17, 2021. The opening reception is free and open to the public on Thursday October 28, 5:00 – 7:00 PM with an artist talk at 5:30 PM.

The exhibit explores the intersection of the outdoor experience and art through paintings, video projection, a mountain of paper cranes and an installation of skies. Singerman’s work aims to create an immersive experience by evoking the energy of the outdoor spaces that inspire us, from mountains and valleys to skies and fields.

Says Singerman, “Spending time in nature – specifically riding bikes, running and hiking – is a mindful practice and brings me real joy. With these projects I hope to conjure up feelings of being in vast outdoor spaces that create a sense of wonder. I made Paper Mountain by folding over 1,000 paper cranes. The flock of paper birds is suspended from the ceiling, forming a floating mountain. The painting installation The space between the clouds is comprised of over 60 paintings of skies covering an entire gallery wall from the floor to ceiling. The work in this exhibit is a sort of experiment to see if it can evoke the spirit of the outdoors.

Emily Gerhold, Director of the Sechrest Gallery of Art and Assistant Professor of Art History at High Point University, writes “Singerman’s work first engages they eye with its color and vibrancy, and one cannot help but feel excited as they are welcomed into the space suggested by her gestural, energetic brushwork. But, balanced with the dynamic elements of her work are passages that inspire deep feelings of tranquility. True to its title’s evocation of the elements of nature – Of Stones and Earth and Air – this show will invite audiences to meditate on the myriad embodied responses, from the ecstatic to the profound, provoked by encounters with the beauty and power of the natural world.”

The artwork in the exhibition can be purchased at www.jessicasingerman.com or by contacting the artist at [email protected].

About the artist: Jessica Singerman earned her BA with Highest Honors in 2002 from the College of William & Mary, Virginia, and her Masters of Fine Arts in 2004 from the University of Delaware while on a fellowship. Her award-winning paintings and drawings are exhibited and collected internationally. Singerman lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

SECHREST ART GALLERY AT HIGH POINT UNIVERSITY, including OF STONES AND EARTH AND AIR, by Jessica Singerman, October 25 – December 17. One University Parkway High Point, NC 27268, www.highpoint.edu/arts-design/sechrest-art-gallery/ 336-841-4680.

If you’d like more information or to schedule an interview with the artist, please contact Jessica Singerman at 336-283-0185 or [email protected]

mountain of folded paper cranes

From floods to Legos to skies – Evolution of a project

A couple of years ago after heavy rains and flooding, I noticed a strange sight while driving over the Yadkin River: a forest under water. The river had overflowed and the trees were standing in a few feet of water. Downed trees and branches were violently shoved up against still-standing trees. I was struck by the sheer power of the water overflowing its river banks and the dissonance of seeing a flooded forest.

 

This image stayed with me for a while and I collected branches which I made into little piles and bundles in my studio. I imagined a huge pile of tree trunks pushed up against a gallery wall and spilling out onto the gallery floor, the pile’s size dwarfing viewers. On an adjacent wall I imagined a wall size video projection of water slowly filling the screen to the sound of water running continuously.

 

Over the course of the next two years I made drawings and prototypes and kept running into the same problem: no matter how elegantly executed, the log stack and running water video created a feeling of dread. I couldn’t reconcile the sense of anxiety the pieces would likely provoke in viewers with my desire to create an immersive and elemental kind of experience in a gallery. Climate change is very real and frightening, but I refuse to subject viewers of my work to feelings of anxiety. As artists we are responsible for how our work affects people, and ultimately I want my work to feel vital and uplifting – even when the work deals with environmental concerns.

 

I sidelined the log pile and running water video ideas and turned to my watercolors to play and think. Watercolor is my “go-to” for figuring things out and generating ideas. I made piles of small playful mixed media drawings and wondered how they would look in a large scale if I made hundreds of them to cover a gallery wall from floor to ceiling – transforming the logs and water ideas to something less heavy-handed.

 

To prototype this idea, I made a hundred and twenty eight tiny drawings with watercolor, ink and colored pencil, and I installed them on a piece of foam core as if it were a tiny gallery wall. I then photographed this maquette with Lego mini figures as viewers to picture how it might feel on a monumental scale. It worked.
lego art gallery
In the spring of 2021, I was asked to exhibit my work at the Sechrest Gallery at High Point University, specifically my large-scale installation Paper Mountain and its companion piece Sky Project. The gallery is big. Even after installing the mountain of paper cranes and filling a wall with the Sky Project video, there was space for more work.  I knew I wanted to include some of my paintings, but there are two twenty foot-tall walls on one side of the gallery. One of these was perfect for a painting installation like what I had prototyped, but it needed to be different. The work I had made for the tiny gallery was very active work, and this needed to be more quiet because it would be near Paper Mountain, a twenty foot tall floating mountain of paper cranes. The painting installation couldn’t detract from Paper Mountain and ideally should complement it.

 

I wanted to make something that would be monumental as I had imagined with my Legos, and it also needed to uplift and encourage minds to wander. I decided to try skies for their universal and poetic quality, and made some prototypes in different painting styles and with different papers. After settling on the type of paint and the application, I found the perfect paper – heavy enough to lay flat on the wall even when coated in paint, the right size and excellent quality. It’s called Yupo, a polypropylene paper that is unpleasant and difficult to use with some mediums, but perfect for this particular project.

 

The project in its current form uses loosely painted skies to create a sense of air and space. The paintings will be hung in a grid 19 feet tall by 17 feet wide, covering one of the gallery walls near Paper Mountain. I’ve named it The space between the clouds.

 

I’m curious and excited to see how The space between the clouds will look installed. I’ll have to arrange the paintings onsite because my studio isn’t big enough to lay them all out at once, and I look forward to that part too.
The High Point University exhibition opens Thursday October 28th and is up until December 18th. The space between the clouds, Paper Mountain, Sky Project and a collection of paintings will be on display at Sechrest Gallery of Art.

 

You can support this project and see images of the work in progress on Buy Me a Coffee where I’ve been fundraising to cover the cost of paper and paint for The space between the clouds.

 

Sometimes you drop paintings on your face

I dropped a wet painting on my face this week.

I’m working on a group of paintings to cover an entire 19-foot tall gallery wall, and I work on them each week in groups of nine. (I’ve completed 45/63 as of today.) At the beginning of each week I start with six paintings on the middle and bottom rows (see below), and when I finish a row, I move it to the top to make room for three more pieces of paper.

On Tuesday while I moved one to the top row, I lost hold of it and it fell on me. Luckily the works are on paper so I didn’t hurt myself, and I managed to wash out the paint from my shirt. I should know better than to wear a good shirt in the studio – even with an apron.

Yesterday I had a meeting at the Sechrest Gallery of Art at High Point University, where I’m exhibiting this project, Paper Mountain and Sky Project and other works starting in October. During the meeting we dialed in the logistics for this exhibit and discussed some other peripheral projects to accompany the show. I’m so excited to share my work in this big beautiful space, to reinstall Paper Mountain and Sky Project and to finally see how my sky paintings will look on a massive scale.

This show will open on Thursday October 28th. Stay tuned for all the details.

On the top right is the culprit – the painting that fell on me!

I am at 79% of reaching my $500 fundraising goal for this project! Can you help me reach the goal?

Searching on the Wind… and Paper Mountain is coming BACK!

I’m super excited to share with you that the Sechrest Gallery at High Point University has invited me to show Paper Mountain, Sky Project and a group of paintings in a solo show this fall. If you’ve been following my work for a few years, you might remember Paper Mountain as the 14-foot tall mountain of 1200 folded paper cranes I suspended at Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art in spring 2019. The project took a couple of years from start to finish, and seeing it installed was truly validating as an artist, so I’m happy to be able to exhibit it in another space and to share it with more people. Stay tuned for more about that as we get closer to installation week in October.

With its sheer size, Paper Mountain can be an immersive experience for viewers. While my newest paintings aren’t monumental in scale, the paintings in the Searching on the wind collection are immersive in their special own way.

These landscapes evoke wide open spaces: big skies, meadows, forests, mountains and rivers. Each painting is a meditative play of shapes and colors.

If you let them, these paintings may just transport you to your favorite mountain or river or forest… 

Find them all HERE and please don’t hesitate to message me if you have questions about any of the work, payment or shipping.

PS: Recently a client asked me if it was safe to ship paintings these days. The answer is YES! I am shipping artwork wherever USPS, Fedex and UPS will travel.

“Searching on the Wind” a New Painting Collection

In this series of landscapes the feel of wide open spaces meets a soft geometry – a meditative play of shapes and colors. 

What started this body of work was a question I asked on Facebook: What outdoor spaces bring you peace and happiness? Friends sent me photos of their special landscapes, and I used those images as a jumping off point to create small paintings, my Tiny Landscapes.

Using those paintings, I then created the larger works in “Searching on the wind.” Some of them stayed true to the small paintings, and some veered in other directions. After working on a painting for a while, it starts to take on a life of its own, and if you know how to listen, paintings will “ask” for one thing or another. Finished paintings are a conversation between the artist and the painting – or maybe with the muse or the universe…

I hope these paintings will evoke the poetry of nature and bring a sense of wonder and a breath of fresh air into your life.

Find them all HERE.

If you’d like to read more about what I was thinking as I started these paintings, check out this blog post about slowing down and enjoying the process.

 

Conversation with Sonya Pfeiffer

Sonya Pfeiffer is owner and director of Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art in Charlotte, NC.

From the gallery:

Jessica Singerman Artist Talk

Join us in the studio with Jessica Singerman as she takes viewers behind the thought process and intention in her new series, Hold Us in the Light.

View the works we’re talking about and shop the exhibition here.

 

Solo exhibit at Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

Jessica Singerman - hold us in the light

On November 6th 2020, my newest solo show “Hold us in the light” opens at Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art in Charlotte, NC. Read on to find out about the work in this exhibition.

There will be free timed entry for this opening. Reserve your time slot here.
Note, my exhibit coincides with the “Home” exhibit, so the reservation link will take you to that show’s reservation page.  

From Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art:

Join us for an exhibition of intimate, responsive work by Jessica Singerman. In a significant departure from her work that celebrates nature, color and light in the landscape and the passing of time, Singerman embraces personal questions around her work and how it relates to the pressing societal issues of today.

Artist Statement:

At the end of spring 2020 when there was a swelling of anger and sadness amidst protests in the US, I wondered what – as an artist – I should be doing in response to what was happening around me. In times of turmoil, I have often questioned the validity of my work, and with practice I’ve learned that it is in those challenging times that the work of an artist becomes especially important, both for the artist and for the audience. However as a white artist, I was unsure of what was appropriate for the direction of my work. It seemed disingenuous to make politically charged paintings when my current body of work dealt with an entirely different subject matter. How could I make work that was culturally relevant yet stayed true to the artistic concerns I’ve pursued for years?

The morning of June 1st I made drawings of a table and chairs in our screened-in porch, a nod to some Richard Diebenkorn paintings of a single chair in an interior. Later that day in the studio, I decided to make a painting using one of those drawings as a reference. This painting was quiet and contemplative. I made another painting and another, all evocative of human presence, and each one a play of color and geometry and composition. In these paintings, through the careful arrangement of shapes and color, I envision creating space for conversations – hopefully the kind of exchanges that bring real profound understanding. Is this too much to want for my work? Maybe, but making art is in itself a hopeful act, and so it helps me feel optimistic.

Get a preview of the work in this studio visit.

The drawings behind the paintings

For the paintings in my exhibit at SECCA, “I must love you very much” I did a bit more planning than I normally do. To be honest, I don’t typically plan my paintings, but for these paintings I did have a specific feeling that I wanted. I liked the idea of making a group of paintings big enough to surround viewers such as Monet’s “Water-Lilies.” Some of his water lily paintings were mural sized works that filled specially made rooms at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.
I’ve been obsessed with Pilot Mountain for a couple of years, and have made a lot of paintings inspired by the place, but they were smaller works. For this project, I wanted to make paintings so big that a person looking at them would have the feeling of being transported to Pilot Mountain. While I’m not interested in creating a photo-realistic image of the place, I am interested in evoking the myriad sensations we feel when we are there.
To determine the size of the paintings, I measured the space I had available for my exhibit at the museum. I planned to make the paintings as large as I could make them while still leaving a bit of white space – or breathing room – around each one. I made four paintings, one for each wall.
After determining their size and taking reference photos on some hikes, I made preliminary watercolor drawings to loosely plan out the composition for each of the four paintings. I used a photo as the first point of reference, then reinterpreted the image by looking for the essential shapes that I would use in my paintings. As I worked on the large paintings, I referred to these drawings as a sort of map to give structure to my paintings. These are those drawings:
 

Want to see how I made these paintings? Check out this time-lapse video I made documenting the process.

Making some paintings

I recently finished a group of four paintings for my exhibition at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), and during the time I made the last two of the paintings, I shot a photo every ten seconds to document the process. Below is the time-lapse video of the entire process over the course of six weeks. From start to finish, you’ll see how I put together “Of Stones and Earth and Air” (on the left) and “Unhearable Sounds” (on the right). See these paintings and the others at “I must love you very much,” my solo exhibit at SECCA, in Winston-Salem, NC September 17 – October 13. The opening reception takes place on Thursday September 19, from 6:00-8:00 PM, with an artist talk at 7:00 PM. Artwork is available for purchase. Contact me by phone (336) 283-0185 or email if you’d like to acquire these paintings for your collection.

Read about these paintings and the exhibit HERE.

See a video documenting the process of stretching one of these massive canvases HERE.

 

The finished paintings:

 

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