Leland Iron Works Group Show

Reeves working at Leland Iron Works

I will be participating in an upcoming group show, Breaking Ground,  including artists in residence for 2015 at Leland Iron Works! The opening will take place on First Thursday 6pm-8pm, Nov. 5th, 2015 at Pacific Northwest College of Art in the Innovation Lab. Please join us!

Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design
Innovation Studio
511 NW Broadway
Portland, OR, 97209   [map]

Free and open to the public Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm

First Thursday 6pm-8pm

My work in the show…

I will be displaying the largest piece of art I have ever attempted, approximately 174″ x 74″.

I am interested in working on mural sized projects, however, this piece was something I wanted to create in a more intuitive and responsive way. Unlike past work, I let go of the sketching process and instead began by working from observation on location. My goal was to capture the sensations and sights that I experienced at Leland Iron Works, known for being a small forest in the middle of leftover farmland. Lee Kelly and his late wife Bonnie Bronson planted most of the trees that now age 50 years. Their intention, Lee says, was to undo some of the damage of over-farming. The result is a magical oasis tucked away amidst disintegrating rural properties destined to become suburban streets and neighborhoods, the rate at which things are going.

This place has an aura of healing in spite of loss and destruction.

While I was in residence, a tree was felled because it had shallow roots and was too near Lee’s studio. Last year, a tree crashed into his studio, wiping out the large deck, since replaced. The limbs and top of the 50+ foot tree were split and chipped. When asked what he would do with the remainder of the major body of the tree,  Lee answered that he would let it be a nurse log. He had left a nurse log that had fallen in the middle of the residence a few years back, and now all that remained was a long mound with an abundance of ferns and other vegetation growing across it.

The sense of life and growth is tenacious at Leland Iron Works.

The question that I came to Leland Iron Works with was ‘what does it mean for art to be a part of an eco-system?’ I sat with the many sculptures that inhabit the place and as I drew them narratives came to me. I wrote down these ideas to present along with watercolor pieces and I think the verses start to speak to my question.

While creating at Leland Iron Works, I became enchanted by how the lacework of tree branches, the shadows and dappled light, and the brilliant spider strands slung across my every path, all interrupted my sense of self. The light passes through the canopy of leaves, with its new tinges of gold and maroon, and vibrates off of everything dancing, crawling and composting below. I was surrounded by living material and became conscious of decomposition as transformation into new life. I carried large pieces of unstretched, raw canvas around Leland Iron Works, painting while tuned in to feelings of verdant abandon, of the audacity to thrive, and to create despite, or maybe because of, a great potential for loss.

Veronica Reeves pouring paint on raw canvas supported by branches.
Veronica Reeves pouring paint on raw canvas supported by branches.

 

 

By V2R2

Veronica Reeves is an artist living and working in the Pacific Northwest, USA.

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