Thursday, October 09, 2008
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Well, here is the second of the five interviews with the winners of the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowships. So with out all my usual ubiquitous rambling, I present you all with, Larinda Meinburg.
(my apologies for not posting more images along with the interview, I am having issues uploading the images for some reason...)
[image, Eroded, 2008]
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. I received my BFA at George Mason University in Virginia and moved to Bloomington to earn my MFA. I am currently teaching a 3-D Design class at Indiana University.
How did your education influence the direction of your art? Did you have any influential instructors?
In my undergrad I had two professors, Tom Ashcraft and Peter Winant who were, and still are, huge influences on my art career. I took a 3-D Fundamentals class with Tom where I found my passion for the 3-D world (they called it “the dark side”) and never looked back. The great thing about Tom and Peter is that they didn’t have an agenda. They took the time to ask me questions about my work, what my goals were for the piece and then would help me brainstorm and find resources to achieve what I wanted. They were very nurturing and supportive. For them art school wasn’t a pyramid scheme as many professors treat it. Now that I am teaching 3-D Fundamentals I strive to conduct my class with the same mentality and quality.
What are the pro's and con's of working as an artist in the Midwest?
Well, I can’t talk about the whole Midwest but can narrow it down to Bloomington, the tiny, eclectic bubble that it is.
The biggest pro for me is that it is more affordable to live in Bloomington than on the east coast where I used to live. Also I feel safe. I know artists in Washington, DC who can only afford studios in high-crime areas and work only when it is light out. I am a night owl will work in my studio until 4:00 in the morning. I can work without having to worry about drive by shootings here.
The biggest con is a lack of interest. It is hard to find out what is going on in the art community since most of the newspapers won’t cover it. How can people support the art scene if they don’t know it is there? It is a common belief in Bloomington that there isn’t an art scene in Indy because we don’t hear about it. I also find that the artistic mediums most supported by the population are traditional like landscape painting and stone carving (all that limestone!) There is nothing wrong with making or enjoying that kind of work, but it does make it harder for contemporary and experimental artists to find support on a local level. They have to go to the bigger cities like Chicago or New York for their audience. I imagine that isn’t just a Bloomington problem.
[image, Bomb, 2007]
How would you describe your work? Can you talk us through your process, from concept to final product? What drives your artistic practice, the concept or the process?
The process is the heart of my work. It is more important to me than the finished piece. If I haven’t found a process that has suited me or the material I am working with then I will never be happy with the final product.
I have different ways to start a project. I might start with a conceptual idea and search for the right materials and processes to fit the idea. Or I might find some kind of material or object that I spot in Menards or in someone’s house that screams potential. I will take the material back to my studio and explore the properties. What does it look like when I chop it up? How about when I iron it? Burn it? Weave it? The properties of the material will guide me in what I can and cannot do and that dictates the form it will have.
Is there a specific message/concept/theme that you strive to convey with your collective work? In relation to your audience, what do you hope to accomplish, in other words, what would you hope your audience takes away from the experience of viewing your work?
Foremost, the work should be an experience that creates a memory. I want the viewer to be sucked into the work and think about the form, how it was made, what the material is, etc. I know I am successful in creating this situation when I have people standing around my work, studying it for long periods of time. Then maybe years down the road, perhaps when they are cleaning out their garage and see a stack of newspapers, they will remember my newspaper work. Hopefully they will have a new sense of possibilities in something as mundane as a stack of newspapers.
[image, Spoonful of Sugar, 2007]
Can you tell us about some of your recent projects? What are you working on at this time?
Jonathan Dankenbring, Derek Parker and I have designed and built an alternative, temporary, mobile exhibition space. It is a hexagonal docking module that can dock up to five moving trucks creating five rooms of exhibition space. The module breaks down like a flat-pack and can fit into a moving truck to be transported to the next exhibition spot. The idea is to get people interested in creating their own exhibition with HUB and it would travel. They can rent Penske trucks anywhere and they would fit perfectly on the module.
With the series of work I am doing now, I am using mundane materials and manipulating them to create organic shapes referencing plant and animal life like fungus and coral.
What Midwest based artists should we be keeping an eye on? Any personal favorites?
I have recently discovered Anne Wilson’s work called topologies. She created a topography and network of black lace elements. It is beautiful and intriguing.
Finally, what do you foresee as being the greatest impact the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship will have on your career and/or artistic practice, be it short term or beyond?
When I found out I won, my bank account was overdrawn, I didn’t have money to pay my bills, no gas in my tank and I was eating spaghetti noodles flavored with garlic salt. The short-term effect is that I can stop worrying about that kind of stuff and focus on making work.
The publicity I have received has been a real gift. It is something that can’t be bought. I have met some amazing people like the Efroymson family, people from the CICF, artists, museum directors, curators, so many people. It has increased my contact base for the Midwest, which will in turn increase my ability to stay in the Midwest. I think that alone will impact my career for years to come.