On Dec. 10, the Zillman Art Museum (ZAM) held a Zoom webinar event, “Creative Conversations with JoAnne Carson and George Kinghorn” discussing artist JoAnne Carson’s works and creative process, ending with a Q&A, with multiple audience questions interspersed throughout, prompting a relaxed dialogue tone between the audience and Carson.
This webinar ran from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and was held by ZAM, hosted by Museum Director and Curator George Kinghorn, and supported technically by Museum Registrar Sara Belisle.
Carson splits her time as both a Brooklyn, New York and Shoreham, Vermont-based artist. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Chicago and currently serves as both the graduate director and professor of studio art at the University of Albany. Carson’s work has been exhibited in multiple museum locations including, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Joslyn Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and many others as referenced by her personal website.
Carson is currently exhibited until Dec. 23 at ZAM located in downtown Bangor. Her show, “Wood Nymphs,” displays a collection of drawings and three large-scale sculptures with an “enchanted woodland” theme as coined by Carson. Aside from her showcased collection of drawings, ZAM currently features “Chlorophilia,” a dramatic monochromatic large-scale sculpture, “Wood Nymph” as a feminine, wood-like large-scale sculpture and “Blue” as a mid-size twirling, whimsical sculpture.
To begin the webinar, Carson described each of these sculptures and their inspirations, touching on her drawings as her primary form of media, extending into an improvised sculpture medium, particularly relevant with pieces “Blue” and “Chlorophylia” as an extension of her drawn and painted whimsical world.
Within this whimsical world, Carson noted the “imposition of darker tones” making pieces such as “Blue” and “Chlorophylia” unsettled, or “worried, preoccupied,” upon any time spent observing the twisted or “masquerade[d]” forms.
During the talk, Carson also addressed questions related to her artistic process and her gradual development from two-dimensional art and its translation into her three-dimensional work, highlighting her trial-and-error process with thermoplastic as a medium and puzzle-piece construction strategy, while maintaining the theme of “masquerading the organic” as she develops seemingly natural works with a striking, characterized form.
Carson also discussed her work within the context of a gallery setting, mentioning the different presentations her work takes on when moved to each venue, incorporating light and shadow, placement of each piece and venue alteration itself to culminate appropriate varying “theatrical relationships” between her work and each exhibit, beautifully displayed currently at ZAM.
Along with “Living Windows” by Gene A. Felice II and Kimathi Moore as an immersive media display, “Being Here” a watercolor collection by Marcie Jan Bronstein, “Lichtenstein and Warhol: Pop Art from the Collection” and “Maine Inspired: Art Luminaries at the Bicentennial,” Carson’s exhibit will remain open, free and to the public by appointment until Dec. 23.
For more information regarding Carson and her work, visit her personal website at joannecarson.com for images of current and previous works, installation videos, relevant media and biographical information.
For more information on ZAM, visit their website at zam.umaine.edu for current exhibition information, membership opportunities and upcoming webinar and livestream events. Additionally, follow ZAM on Facebook @ZAMatUMaine and on Instagram @zillmanartmuseum.