Friday, September 17, 2010

Featured Artist: Ann Butwell

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Ann Butwell from Minneapolis, MN.


About the piece:

The original focus of my creative practice was batiked cloth wall hangings. About a year ago, I decided to have my art be lit from within. Salient themes throughout the years have been light and healing, so it made sense to literally let my light shine through the work! In addition to enhancing the contrast and luminosity of the batik, the light adds and extra dimension to each piece.

Artist Statement:

Since age six, I have been making batiks. I have pursued this wax-resist method of dying for four decades in places ranging from basement sinks in Washington DC to backyard pilas in San Salvador. Today I create in a more conventional space: a light filled attic studio in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.

I am drawn to batik because of the beauty in its rawness. What conventionally are consitdered "mistakes" actually contribute to a work's depth and complexity: inadvertent was drippings, cracks in the wax where dye seeps into the fibers, a transparent luminescence caused by remnants of wax that remain in the fabric.

Batik is a metaphor for life; we plan carefully, and then life unfolds. What comes into being is often more beautiful than anything we could have conceived ourselves. Eighteen years ago I was outside running when a car ran over me. The disastrous event was ultimately transformed into a gift because (among other things) it caused me to re-dedicate to the creative pursuit. Still confined to my hospital bed, I was compelled to draw the scene of the accident. Recreating that moment through artistic expression helped me to heal and to grow from an otherwise tragic experience. I am still growing spiritually and artistically with every line drawn and brush stroked. Perhaps this explains why motifs of sun, plants, and trees recur in my work; each is a symbol of growth.

The overarching theme of my work is light - the ways that light dances off an object, shines through wove cloth and emerges as subject matter. In my code, light is the Spirit made visible. As I work the light flows through me. It is absorbed by the creative process and becomes a meditation. As each work of art emerges, I am healed in a new way.

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