R ESPO NSE TO PL ACE:
COLOR FEBRUARY 15 â€“ MAY 17, 2019
Phoebe Adams +
Teresa Booth Brown
The mission of Ucross is to foster the creative work of both accomplished and emerging artists by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of Wyoming’s majestic High Plains, and to serve as a responsible steward of its historic 20,000-acre ranch. Through its residency program supporting individuals and groups from an array of disciplines—writers, visual artists, composers, performing artists and more— Ucross participates in the process by which a society is strengthened and emboldened by its most forward-looking arts. Visiting artists from around the world forge a small, intimate community in a setting that allows their creative endeavors to thrive. A public, non-proﬁt organization sustained by the generosity of many donors, Ucross is home to a working ranch located at the confluence of three pristine creeks. Ucross believes that being a responsible steward of the land resembles being a dedicated artist, and vice versa. Both require vision, imagination, commitment, and the sustainable use of resources. Through all of its initiatives, Ucross strives to cast a reflection into the future from the cultural mirror of our lives and times.
During the often monochromatic Wyoming winter, it is a great pleasure and honor to present the work of Phoebe Adams and Teresa Booth Brown at the Ucross Art Gallery in the exhibition Response to Place: COLOR. Their artwork is a feast for the eyes and the mind. Seasons and the land mean a great deal to all of us in Wyoming, as well as to resident artists who come to Ucross from all over the world. As John Yau notes in his Introduction, “The color of a landscape and its changing, ambient light play an important role in the paintings of Phoebe Adams and the collages of Teresa Booth Brown.” Both artists have been Ucross residents in recent years. Phoebe Adams, who was at Ucross in 2017, lives in Maine and spends much time in New Mexico. She told us, “At Ucross, the amazing wildlife and landscape were a constant surprise and inspiration to the work I made. The changing weather and geologic history are recorded in these abstract paintings….Place is a Time: days and weather rocking back and forth into spring.” Teresa Booth Brown, who lives in the Denver area, has been a Ucross resident three times in the past decade, in 2010, 2013 and 2016. She beautifully captures the spirit of a residency: “Ucross is heartily satisfying for the creative mind in the way that a restful night’s sleep is gratifying for the insomniac. Free from the weight of everyday concerns, your idea bank has room to expand to the size of the state of Wyoming. The other residents come back home with you in your heart. You feel re-built on many levels and the experience continues long after you have gone.” Ucross is grateful for the ongoing support of the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature. Thank you to the distinguished author John Yau for writing the exhibition essay, and to both artists for participating in this show. We are especially thankful to the Ucross Board of Trustees, for their generosity and dedication to the contemporary arts. Our late Founder, Raymond Plank (1922-2018) set us all on a course that we look forward to continuing with energy and commitment.
Sharon Dynak President, Ucross Foundation
COVER LEFT: COVER RIGHT:
Threats to the Food Chain #4 (detail), 2018, 22 x 30 inches, Phoebe Adams Electromagnetic, 2017, 48 x 24 inches, Teresa Booth Brown
OPPOSITE LEFT: OPPOSITE RIGHT:
Audacious (detail), 2018, 60 x 60 inches, Teresa Booth Brown Geology #1, 2017, 10.5 x 15 inches, Phoebe Adams
INTRODUCTION John Yau
The color of a landscape and its changing, ambient light play an important role in the paintings of Phoebe Adams and the collages of Teresa Booth Brown. While both are abstract artists, they take divergent approaches to process and subject matter. Adams draws upon her memories of walking in different rural landscapes and her reading in the natural sciences to develop the evocative abstract images and patterns we see in her work: she is particularly attuned to what she calls “small details.” Booth Brown’s process begins with a collage made from photographic images adopted from diverse sources. On a narrow format, which she aligns vertically or horizontally with very different effects, the artist adds and subtracts painted white geometric shapes and wandering abstract lines to the photographic ground. The shift between solid, overlaid shapes and photographic imagery underscores the complex relationship between sight and memory: what connections do these fragments provoke in us?
Boulder, 2017, 17 x 22 inches, Phoebe Adams
Equiluminent, 2017, 24 x 48 icnhes, Teresa Booth Brown
It could be said that Adams and Booth Brown approach subject matter from opposite corners. Through her use of line and shape, layering, and striated veils of color, Adams edges up against representation without crossing over into it. What viewers sense is a world in a state of change: the meandering lines hint at shapes while evoking the constant movement integral to the natural world. That movement may be as obvious as a strong
gust of wind or as invisible as seismic shifts or the leaking of poisonous chemicals into the soil. This awareness folds another element of consciousness into Adams’ evocations of an unpopulated, natural landscape. The interlocking and layering of marks and shapes underscore the artist’s recognition that we live in a world of contingency and connection, with color adding further possible meanings. Is a particular green evocative of foliage or industrial waste? In 1979, the English environmentalist and writer James Lovelock developed a theory known as Gaia, which advanced the view that Earth’s biosphere is shaped by the ceaseless interactions of its living organisms and inorganic materials, of dynamic and inert matter. Adams’ work shares something with Lovelock’s vision of a vigorously animated world; it reminds us that much of our reality is unseen, and under constant pressure to change and evolve. In contrast to Adams, Booth Brown’s collages approach abstraction without entirely letting go of representation. Her layer of found photographic images may appear abstract, but it sometimes contains readable language. In her use of an elongated format she establishes a panoramic view, which is in keeping with the vast landscape of the part of the country where some of the works were made. The interaction between the painted geometric shapes and the photographic imagery
is full of correspondences – the curve of a shape echoes the photograph it abuts. Many photos seem to have been chosen for their merging of texture or pattern with color, their abstraction. We read the images as eroded surfaces and traces of natural history.
John Yau is a poet and art critic whose latest books include a selection of reviews, The Wild Children of William Blake (2017); the monographs Thomas Nozkowski (2017); and Philip Taaffe (2018); and a book of poems, Bijoux in the Dark (2018); He lives in New York.
Meanwhile, the painted white shapes, at least one of which is likely to extend across almost the entire width of the collage, hold the teeming photographic images together. Looking becomes archeological and geological – a kind of sifting through the various details and layers. What links them together? How deep do the layers go? Even as viewers ask these questions, they are likely to become conscious that it does not all add up. This is true also of our lives, where forces of randomness and routine, and order and disorder, are continually at work. This is the deepest concern that Adams and Booth Brown share – a profound awareness that the everyday world is undergoing a process of constant change, whether it’s subtle and minute or extreme and dramatic. The connections, ripples, and aftershocks have ramifications we can only guess at. To be responsible and responsive to that undeniable fact of our existence: this is what Adams and Booth Brown stay alert and open to.
Calving, 2017, 17 x 22 inches, Phoebe Adams
Isoluminant, 2017, 48 x 24 inches, Teresa Booth Brown
Chromophore, *pending year*, 48 x 24 inches, Teresa Booth Brown
TERESA BOOTH BROWN
Between the outward traits of a given land-
moves, that is axiomatic of natural structures.
A fascination with the shifting contiguity of
scape, and the long interactions we humans
I try to paint my sense of the many layers of
representation and abstraction drives my artistic
have had with these specific places, lies our
beauty and the creep of looming dangers.
practice. In painting, collage, and print-making,
fundamental feelings about ourselves. As
I provoke moments when this dichotomy
farmers, ranchers, fishermen, visitors, artists,
becomes unstable or collapses altogether,
we move in a dynamic that now more than ever, asks us to examine the consequences of our daily actions. As an artist I don't depict the literal landscapes I inhabit but rather try to show my observations and feelings being in these landscapes. Mostly Maine and Western landscapes. I call it “the Emily Dickinson effect,” this close observation of well-known places. And what comes from noticing very small things. What appears to be fixed in plain sight in the landscape, is in fact altered by what can be observed and understood in small details, be they with instruments like microscopes or telescopes or simple observations over time. I am interested in what lies behind the obvious, what is peripheral and moving to the center in landscapes. The tidal river is changed in my artist eyes by seeing and knowing the threats to its ecosystem. My footsteps in the arroyo are changed, where I know the water will not run clean again. I see the creep of darker changes in the landscape which overlay and intermingle with the enormous beauty. I think the experience of painting is the co-mingling, of seeing seemingly opposite polarities: abstraction\representation, macrocosm\ microcosm, personal\global. In my wanderings in the natural sciences I find a myriad of visual experiences and examples of colorist abstractions that I am drawn to. Everything
Phoebe Adams is a sculptor and painter who has spent a lifetime wandering in the paths of the natural sciences, incorporating abstract and representational images from nature into her work. She grew up in New England, and has spent much time in the landscapes in New Mexico. She earned a BFA in Sculpture from Philadelphia College of Art, now called University of the Arts, and received an MFA from SUNY Albany. She also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has exhibited her work in numerous solo and group shows across the country and in Europe. Her work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Walker Art Center, to name a few. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine and other newspapers and periodicals. She taught sculpture courses at Tyler Art School, University of the Arts, and was a tenured professor of art at University of Pennsylvania – Kutztown for many years. She has been a visiting critic and lectured widely in graduate and undergraduate art programs across the country. She is been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, a Pew fellowship in the arts being one. She maintains a studio practice in Midcoast Maine and spends four months a year in New Mexico. She continues to read deeply in the natural sciences. As a keen observer, she finds the threats to our changing landscapes a perilous slope that artists and all of us must confront.
when two dimensionality becomes three, when solid becomes fluid, when the familiar becomes strange. I set myself the challenge of structuring into each piece a tension between the conceptual and the concrete. Fragments of photographic imagery pull the viewer into moments of recognition while flat, geometrical fields of color insist on the materiality of the paint and its composition. My paintings evoke diagrams, landscapes, interiors, architecture, and still lifes. Starting with a collage on wood panel, I develop a painting through the addition and subtraction of paint and drawing. I meditate on the organization of elements, adding and removing paint until form, color, and line balance several modalities of visual information. I use pencil line to delineate composition and to create positive and negative space. As I build and remove layers of material, my intellect and emotion decide what emerges and what stays hidden. The result, never preconceived, emerges from this archaeological process of accretion and excavation.
Teresa Booth Brown is an artist and teacher best known for her use of collage materials in oil painting, mixedmedia drawing, and print-making using a wide variety of source material from fashion magazines to discarded teaching materials and obsolete textbooks. Her work is distinguished by its use of strong color, abstracted imagery, and architectural geometry. Influenced by the work of her teachers at Bennington College (Pat Adams, Guy Goodwin, and Philip Wofford), Teresa continues a teaching tradition of focus on the identification and development of uniquely individual directions in studio work. She teaches for the Aspen Art Museum, and is summer faculty at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and La Napoule Art Foundation in the South of France.
R ESPO NSE TO PL ACE:
COLOR FEBRUARY 15 – MAY 17, 2019
Phoebe Adams + Teresa Booth Brown
SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2019 Color in Landscape Workshops 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. Artists Reception 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Events are free and open to the public.
GALLERY HOURS M-F 8:30 am – 4 pm The exhibition is supported in part by the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature.
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Exhibition brochure for Color at Ucross