Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jessica Teckemeyer - Installation

“Reliance (sinners and saints)”, 2010
Jessica Teckemeyer

SooVac Gallery Featured Interview
"We Are Animal" - Jessica Teckemeyer
April 9, 2011 - May 22, 2011
Opening Reception: 4/9/11 6-9pm

Jessica Teckemeyer
Minneapolis, MN
Email: jessica@jteckemeyer.com

Jessica Teckemeyer is an emerging artist living in Minneapolis, MN. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in May 2010. Her work has been exhibited in Montevideo, Uruguay; New York, NY; Chicago, IL; South Orange, NY; Cincinnati, OH; Minneapolis, MN; and Grand Forks, ND. She is a Lecturer Professor of Art & Design at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

Teckemeyer has worked for internationally known artist Siah Armajani. In the past four years, many cultural experiences have had lasting impact on her works. In November of 2008, Teckemeyer was a visiting artist in Montevideo, Uruguay where she gave a lecture and displayed an installation. She studied in New York City with colleagues for three weeks in 2009. Later the same year, she also visited Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Rome. The rich history of these places has made her question: what connects all humans spanning time and place?

Prior to graduate school, she worked in the sculpting, mold making, and painting departments at “Tivoli Too” a 3D design and production studio located in Mendota Heights, MN. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2004.

“Planes of Existence”, 2010

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
Through sculpture and video, my work explores the physical world including the tangible as well as the psychological. The current series is focused on the conflicted complexity of inner existence and how human behavior reflects cultural influences. Prominent influences include a society's history, religion, media, science, and mythology, which create a false sense of domination over our internal and external existence. The human condition is domesticated; we are animals. As social creatures, we combat reason versus instinct. The work embodies a symbolic language exploring themes including inner confrontation, spirituality, vulnerability/strength, and death.

Currently, I am working on a sculpture of a life-sized mountain lion clinging to the knot at the end of a rope from its teeth. The feline conveys the idea of struggle and fear through a twisted body activated by tense muscles and extended claws. The creature has human glass eyes. Many societies in North and South America have employed feline icons as metaphors to express human qualities and symbolize human relations. Continuing this lineage, this piece represents the current political and economic climates in the world. Apart from humans, large cats are the most widespread and successful land bound predators.

How is this different from past projects?
It’s a cougar rather than a wolf form.

"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?

I approach my work with these questions in mind:
What connects all humans spanning time and place?
What does it mean to be animal?
What does it mean not to be animal?
What is the role of monster in culture?
What roles do myth, literature, film, and media play in our subconscious?

I want to create the opportunity for conversations about perspectives on difficult issues like spirituality, death, inner confrontation, and vulnerability/strength. My thesis installation titled “Planes of Existence” is about the similarities and differences of spiritual beliefs in relation to death. Are there spiritual worlds or is death the end? I had many fascinating conversations with mentors, peers, and friends during the exhibition!

“Planes of Existence”, 2010

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Clive Murphy was a visiting artist at the University of Minnesota during my graduate years. He advised me to make several pieces to explore an idea, rather than put everything into one piece. Research can carry me away sometimes, so this has been helpful to remember.

Tell me about your work space and your creative process?
I’m interested in commonalities between cultures. My process begins with research into the marvelous and the strange from ancient mythology to monster theory. I prefer to read a book rather than a computer screen, so the library and I are well acquainted! As my idea shapes, I think about how to best convey the content… video, sculpture, or installation.

The accuracy of the anatomy is very important, so I study and research my animal subjects in person. Trips to Milwaukee and Omaha’s zoos have proven necessary when the local options do not house the creature necessary for the piece. Internet searches are also utilized. The images gathered are printed and taped to my studio wall for reference. For making the work, I rely on techniques employed by the automotive industry and prop building studios.

On mark, art critic Jerry Saltz called me “an anal-retentive warrior princess” during a studio visit! I am drawn to materials that allow the presences of my hand to be removed. For example, after sculpting the form, I skin it with a hard coat. The “skin” is then worked with a combination of power tools and by hand (filling any unwanted dents, pits, or scratches with putty). Next, the piece is coated with a scratch-filling primer and sanded entirely by hand for surface refinement. The former step is repeated. Finally, the piece is painted.

My studio space is in St. Louis Park.

“Portal”, 2010
Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
There are so many talented artists in Minnesota. For the sake of keeping this answer brief, I am going to list a few other emerging artists using animal imagery to express content.
Areca Roehttp://www.arecaroe.com/
Mel Griffin - www.melgriffin.com
Erin Hernsberger - http://www.erinhernsberger.com/
Cheryl Wilgren Clyne - http://www.mnartists.org/artistHome.do?rid=11140

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
Over a weekend, we would visit the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art (MAEP space is a must!), Soo Visual Art Center, Franklin Art Works, the Soap Factory, and Burnett Gallery. I prefer to see a variety of media and artists. Our time together would also include eating at great restaurants to discuss the exhibitions! Art, food, and conversation… what more could you want?!

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
I read the Arts section of The New York Times , and Flavorpill.com. Flavorpill focuses on cultural happenings in NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and London.

“Between Life and Death”, 2009

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
Join me for the exhibition titledWe Are Animalopening at the Soo Visual Art Center in Minneapolis on April 9th, 2011 from 6 – 9 pm. The show is open until May 22nd. Visit http://www.soovac.org/ for more details. Please also visit http://www.jteckemeyer.com/ to see more images, information, and upcoming events. Thanks!

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