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Art Gallery at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center

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The State Theatre provides a home base for many Eau Claire area art, theatre, music, and dance organizations.

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Eau Claire Regional Arts Council Announces CSA Artists Selection

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

The Eau Claire Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) is pleased to announce the nine artists selected for the inaugural season of Community Supported Art (CSA).  Nineteen artists submitted samples of their work to the CSA jury for review and selection. The jury awarded commissions to Jodine Balow, painter; Darrel Bowman, potter; Tom Gardner, photographer; Hope Greene, photographer; Kerri Kiernan, printmaker; Patricia Mayhew-Hamm, painter; Crysten Nesseth, sculptor; Harlie Wensel, painter; and Aryn Widule, poet.

"The jury had some tough choices to make during selection for the inaugural 2014 season," said Rose Dolan-Neill, CSA director. "All of the artists who submitted applications are to be commended on their work. We hope they will apply again next year."

The artists will receive a $500 commission to create 25 "shares" of artwork. CSA members who purchase a share will receive a "farm box" of artwork at three pick-up events this summer. The farm box will contain one piece of art from each of the nine artists and a "bumper crop" of additional artwork and arts opportunities.

"The CSA program was established to connect local artists in our community with art collectors," said Ben Richgruber, executive director, Eau Claire Regional Arts Council. "A key component of ECRAC's visual arts mission is to promote local artists, and engage art collectors in the discovery of new works of art - the CSA program accomplishes both goals."

The CSA pick-up events will be held on Thursday, June 26 at 5:00 p.m. in the Janet Carson Gallery; Thursday, July 31 at 6:00 p.m. at the Volume One Sounds Like SummerConcert Series in Phoenix Park; and Saturday, September 20 at 8:00 a.m. at the Artist Market in Phoenix Park.

CSA member shares are $250 for the season, and only 25 shares are available for purchase each season. CSA shares can be purchased in person at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, 316 Eau Claire Street; by phone at 715-832-2787; or online at 


2014 CSA Artist's Statements:

Jodine Balow, Painter

I am a still life painter and my larger work is in oils.   Nature provides my subject matter from which I get shapes, color, lines and the paint provides texture, space and contrast.  This formula covers all the elements needed for a successful piece of art.  Organic objects have a short life.  Using fruit, plants and flowers in my work I can preserve the detailed beauty I see. 

When people see one of my still life paintings I would like them to, although they have seen the subject matter a hundred times, stop, take a longer look and realize the beauty in the simple things we are so fortunate to have all around us.

Darrel Bowman, Potter

The pots I make are intentionally useful, that is, they are intended to be used. Most of the work I produce is related directly to daily rituals, particularly preparing and sharing food & drink. Because I work in high-fired stoneware, the pots are useful in the oven, microwave, and are dishwasher friendly. Of course, the clay and glazes are completely food-safe as well. I believe that much of the best art or craft is that which finds its way into our daily lives where through silent interaction via domestic use allows a certain familiarity to develop.

Tom Gardner, Photographer

My function as an artist is to serve as conduit for the everyday wonderment that surrounds us, to bring forth the small magic that exists before our very noses, and to celebrate the sacred beneath our fingertips.  I see my photography as a celebration of the ordinary becoming extraordinary, a sort of reconnection with the inherent and essential mythologies that are innate within us, and inform our lives.  This is the magic that dances in a good dog's eye; it is the sunlight caught in the petals of a lily and the songs of the rivers and trees.  Digital photography has afforded me a medium to explore this magic, to recombine and layer familiar images into new sets of meaning, shape and form, and has allowed me to sing the songs I've always known with a new voice.

Hope Greene, Photographer

As a landscape photographer, I get to know the place I'm living by sitting with it and photographing. Photography has a beautifully tense alchemy entwining the mind's memory and the machine's record, and I find it to be a great tool for understanding and communicating with a place and the people in it. I have recently been photographing lakes in the region and would like to turn my attention closer to home, and at the same time take up the challenge of wrangling rougher chemicals than refined inkjet pigments into some kind of eloquence. The cyanotype process is old. It was developed in 1842 and depends on the light sensitivity of iron salts rather than the now more commonly used silver salts. Because of the chemical composition, the resulting prints are in monochrome blue unless toned to brown, grey, red or purple, and they are extremely stable. Exposing the prints in the sun requires 30 minutes per print and the exposures can be variable depending on the movement of clouds.

Kerri Kiernan, Linocut printmaker

As an Eau Claire artist, herbalist, dancer and educator I seek to create opportunities for meaningful connection to inner-self, to others, and to nature in all its forms. My pursuit of these passions has sent me on journeys diving beneath the surface of the illusion that all of these things are separate. I seek to create art which illustrates these connections.

Patricia Mayhew-Hamm, Painter

I do not paint realistically, because I feel in realism there are no surprises.   What you see is always the same, whereas, in non-objective work, such as mine, there are, hopefully, new things to discover all the time. I want to interpret what I see, by the use of design, color, contrast and composition.

 I would like my work to be an escape from mediocrity by combining abstract shapes with shapes found in nature.  My work is interplay between transparent and opaque.     The viewer should feel a color impact at first sight, and then find compositional variables, depth and subtleties upon further observation.  Curvilinear qualities are also very evident in my work, due largely, to years of calligraphic work.

When I begin a painting, I very rarely draw anything on the paper.  I don't want to be limited by pre-set ideas.  Some of my work ends up completely different than it started. It can go through several metamorphoses before I am happy with it.

Art is my passion. If I couldn't paint, I would find some other outlet for my need to create art.  I've been an artist, I think, since I was born.  I have been painting for years and the longer I keep at it, the more the creativity grows.

Crysten Nesseth, Sculptor

I am a young female metal artist from Barron, WI. I grew up along the Red Cedar River, and much of my work is inspired by the time I spend in the woods. After graduating from St. Olaf College, I now work at my family's industrial manufacturing business, where I use the recycled metals to make whimsical characters and north woods creatures.

I discovered working with metals from my dad, the owner of the family business. With his encouragement, I have learned many mediums of art, but have now focused on the recycling of industrial scrap metal. I use many industrial tools including press brakes, plasma cutters, saws, lathes, torches, and welders. Rural Wisconsin fosters a large community of industrial workers, and many of them recognize and appreciate the work I do with the tools I have, and the creativity my work requires. My art is inspired by the community around me, and I have learned so much, and seek to give back to this community in appreciation. 

Harlie Wensel, Painter

I am constantly working to create a realistic abstraction of society and the world around me. My works consist of my depictions of nature. Since I live on a bison farm in rural Colfax Wisconsin, I find nature as one of scenes I can re-create best. I value the stories that can be depicted and created through painting. I feel, with the use of colors, I can create emotions that are hard to be spoken but easier to see. I find that often I let stress and anxiety get to me, and that is why I create paintings of moments, places, and spaces that are peaceful and memorable to me.  Art is how I express myself.

I love this community and want to make it the best it can be in every way I can possible.  I grew up here and wanted to stay here through college because of my ties to this area.

Aryn Widule, Poet

I think that writing, and poetry in particular, should be an attempt- an attempt to reach that closeness, an insistence to try to get the one thing that we, as singular human beings, can never truly have. I can't get in your head, and feel exactly what you feel about that sunset, but maybe I can explain it in a way that brings out the same kind of feelings in you that I have. Maybe the poet is there to find the emotional common denominator, in the form of a metaphor, between two people that lets them better understand each other.

I gravitate towards subjects that make me feel the most. I am drawn to, and very curious about, things that have been abandoned or that lie derelict. I think that the way they exist, and interact with nature, is beautiful and sad and profound all at the same time. In the same way that a child personifies their stuffed animals, I can't help but look at inanimate things without attributing some degree of life to them, and then, naturally, viewing them with some bit of empathy. An abandoned car rusting in the woods, an empty and rotting supper club on a northern Wisconsin lake, these are things that feel somewhere between alive and dead to me. There is a story there, there is loss and loneliness, and just like people, for every rotting thing forgotten and left for nature to reclaim, there was a time when it was vibrant and new and alive.

These things, and these feelings, are communal to everyone. In our dried spring fields and old buildings and crumbling barns there are feelings and memories that we all can relate to. Why would my writing fit this project? Because, at least it's my hope, it ties our interiors to our environment. It tries to not simply show the audience something beautiful, or relate a new interpretation of something, but attempts to do a very simple, but vital thing- to look around us, examine ourselves, and see how everything around and inside us should make us curious, and make us feel.



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