Hartmut Austen, Christine Baeumler, Tamsie Ringler, Christina Schmid, Jenny Schmid, Paul Shambroom, and Diane Willow receive grants to support their research and creative practice
The University of Minnesota's Imagine Fund supports innovative research and scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design. Here, in their own words, are descriptions of how each of these faculty members plan to use their awards:
Hartmut Austen, Merzhütte, 2014, oil on canvas, 18" x 14"
Hartmut Austen, Creative Work, New Territory:
Austen will apply his grant towards the cost of creating and shipping a new body of large-scale oil paintings to The Butcher's Daughter Gallery in New York City for a solo exhibition in autumn 2016 or early 2017. Austen explains:
In my painting practice, I work with presumed dichotomies in painting, such as: formalism versus narrative, illusion versus actual space, and abstraction versus representation. In each painting, my goal is to find an original pictorial solution which is influenced both by contemporary painting practices in the United States and Europe and by my own personal experiences.
There are unique spatial possibilities that arise with paintings on a larger scale. Using expressive color, forms can appear on a large canvas at one moment representative, and at another moment, abstract. The role of the viewer becomes different with larger canvasses, as well. Similar to the experience one has with large abstract expressionist paintings of the postwar period, one is "stepping into" the scenery, looking at small sections of a painting instead of at the entire composition. My new paintings explore this "new territory" of illusionist and actual space further and investigate the role of painted color as an agent of spatial experience.
Christine Baeumler, Bogs, A Love Story:
My artistic practice has focused on places that are often viewed as wastelands. I spent the summer of 2014 visiting bogs and wetlands and interviewing five experts to share their knowledge about the bogs of Northern Minnesota. Through my research in making this short documentary, have come to more fully appreciate how the future of peatlands may impact climate change. While " Bogs, A Love Story," has been shown in several venues in its current version, with Imagine Grant funding I plan to expand the piece to include other voices and to reflect more expansively on our relationship to overlooked ecological systems that are vital and yet largely invisible.
My interest in bogs began with my Rooftop Tamarack Bog project (installed at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2012). In 2013, I participated in the symposium, Invisible Scotland, at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, the University of Dundee and visited wetlands in the Highlands.
Professor Mary Modeen has invited me back to Scotland to be a guest artist at the College of Art and Design in July of 2015. I will lecture, screen the current version of the documentary, and lead a workshop. I will also conduct further fieldwork in the Scottish Highlands and will meet with artists Alexander and Susan Maris, two artists committed to the stewardship of Rannoch Moor. I would expand my video documentary to include additional interviews with people in Scotland and in Minnesota, and reflect more fully on why we should care about the fate of these ecosystems.
Watch this video for more about Bauemler's past work.
Tamsie Ringler, Doral Print, 2013, 28” x 16” x 14”, Cast iron
Tamsie Ringler, Printing Space:
My current body of work focuses on the dimensional capture of space through molding and casting landscapes and situational portraits in iron. These 'prints' are three-dimensional interpretations of the natural processes visible in features of landscape and the manipulated spatial features of artistic studios and work places. Working within the context of a natural site, the casting makes permanent evidence of temporal natural processes - the effects of rain on soil, the plant community within an area of ground and local rocks, vegetation and surface disturbances. These 'landscape' prints capture a moment in the life of a natural space that becomes changed even by the act of recording it. Working within the context of a site manipulated by people, the castings collect permanent evidence of temporal human activity - the planned and accidental arrangement of objects and tools, the material residue of sculptural processes and the spatial context of an artist studio space. These 'portraits' personalize space capturing the imprint of human activity, a casting of a time and space within the creative process.
'Printing Space' would be an inclusive exhibition of my research into capturing and substantiating temporal spaces through experimental mold-making and metal casting.
The solo exhibition 'Printing Space', slated for early 2016 at Franconia Sculpture Park's gallery at the Casket Arts Building, Minneapolis, Minnesota, will feature new and recently completed work comprising my current sculptural explorations.
Christina Schmid, Water Songs:
At the corner of Europe where Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria meet, a stream cascades down a narrow gorge. Named for the "Holy Spirit" of Catholicism, the stream is a local oddity and attraction: in its short descent from the highest point of the area, crowned by a pilgrimage church, built on top of an older pagan cult site, the Holy Ghost Creek is lined by dozens of wooden millwheels. Today, the millwheels are in different degrees of decay. Only a few have been restored.
In "Water Songs," I plan to explore the millwheel as a multi-layered metaphor for global warming, a process of slow, almost imperceptible accumulation followed by a predictable yet non-localizable release of energy. The weight of the pooling water eventually reaches a tipping point, when the stream's energy is amplified and released. "Water Songs" lives a double life as a research project devoted to deep mapping, understanding the history of the place through its history, folklore and geographic features, and as a piece of video art that records, combines, and samples the sounds of the creek's descent.
The project grows out of a sketch I started several years ago while first traveling in the area, a long-time meeting point of different cultures. The project's goal is to tell a poetic story of climate change, faith, and place, through documentation, writing, video and audio recordings. "Water Songs" is inspired by the recent ecological and geological turn in art, discussed by Timothy Morton, Jane Bennett, and Bruno Latour.
Note: Schmid was also awarded an Imagine Fund Special Event grant to fund a series of panels in fall 2015 titled, "Curating at a Crossroads."
Jenny Schmid, Flayed and Displayed: Live Animation Project of Anatomical Prints:
This project integrates my love of historical prints with my skills in live projection animation. I have recently discovered the Wangensteen Biomedical Library at the University of Minnesota. It is one of the best in the country but attracts a limited audience, mostly those interested in the history of medicine. I will animate and alter anatomical prints from the 1500s-1700s to create a live interactive projection about the four humors. I will also use my prints, which are presently in production through a faculty research leave.
I am fascinated by historical anatomical prints in the early days of dissection that involve allegory and artistry. They depict skeletons posed holding a gravedigger's spade or their own flayed skin, for example . As well as turning the soul and flesh inside out, I will metaphorically expose the inside of the Wangensteen collection to the outside world through large scale projection . The potential for bringing this rich print collection to a wider audience connects the past to the present. By collaborating with curators and research librarians, I will bring a wider audience to this intimate collection.
My recent works have involved audience participation and live animation projection to engage the public and to add content to the work. This requires that I work with my collaborator in Pittsburgh who is skilled in programming. I will propose this piece for Northern Spark in June 2016, a live projection event in the Twin Cities, as well as animation and projection festivals.
Paul Shambroom, Lost:
"Lost" is a series of photographs based on lost pet signs commonly seen on phone poles and other public sites, specifically those that have been degraded by moisture and other environmental factors, or printer malfunctions. The beauty and serendipity of the flaws represent an additional level of loss (of the image itself) that mirrors the loss of a beloved pet missed by a loving family. These animals are often photographed in an unskilled or quirky manner by the pet owners. This vernacular quality adds interest and, in some cases, a dark humor to the inherently sad images.
I am currently working almost exclusively with found images, a major change from my previous documentary photography work on subjects such as nuclear weapons and small town council meetings.
The concept of "ambiguous loss" is meaningful to me because of an injury to a family member. It is described by psychotherapist and author Dr. Pauline Boss (Emeritus Professor at the University of Minnesota):
Ambiguous loss differs from ordinary loss in that there is no verification of death or no certainty that the person will come back or return to the way they used to be. Ambiguous loss freezes the grief process and prevents closure, paralyzing couple and family functioning.
I will use Imagine funds to produce books that will be sent to curators and galleries in order to secure exhibition opportunities, as well as materials and framing for exhibition prints.
Diane Willow, By Any Medium Necessary: Cybernetics Serendipity:
In March 2008 I organized the symposium Wonder Women: Art & Technology 1968-2008 and curated the companion exhibition: culturing nature :: culturing technology. Held at the University of Minnesota and the Walker Art Center, it marked the 40th anniversary of the Cybernetics Serendipity exhibition at the ICA in London, UK. Curated by Jasia Reichard, then Associate Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, this became the most significant first instance of computers, and by extension computer art, exhibited within a contemporary art museum.
The Wonder Women project catalyzed my ongoing interest in the relationship of artists and emerging technologies among three generations of women artists, each with a propensity for working among disciplines and across media to realize their ideas. I began a correspondence with Doug Sery, the MIT Press New Media Senior Acquisitions Editor. Following his enthusiastic response to my inquiry about a proposed book concept based on the Wonder Women symposium theme, he asked if I would I generate and send an example chapter to him.
Tentatively titled: By Any Medium Necessary, I will focus this initial chapter on Jasia Reichard. To do so, I propose to interview her in London and research Cybernetics Serendipity using the original ICA archive now in the Tate Gallery library as well as the recent display of documentation in the Fox Reading Room of the ICA. I have corresponded with Jasia Reichard and she is receptive to this interview.