Stephanie Jonsson

Fabricated Ecologies - Stephanie Jonsson

A year ago Stephanie Jonsson and I were selected by curator Katie Brennan  of the Lake Country Public Art Gallery to participate in a two-person show. Katie felt there was a "synergy" between our work.  "Through the Strange, new essences, creating the world anew"  has been showing since October 8th. 2014 and ends this Saturday, November 15th. 2014.

Click here to see images, slideshows and videos of our show.

 

 

I wanted to introduce you to Stephanie and her sculptures. . Click here to read her CV

 Bryce Evans Photography   -  Stephanie Jonsson at Medalta Potteries, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Bryce Evans Photography   - Stephanie Jonsson at Medalta Potteries, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Stephanie Jonsson Biography

Since graduating from the University of Alberta in 2005 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in sculpture, Stephanie’s practice has grown to include glazes and fabrics, both mediums that she was not formally trained in. 

In 2007/2008, Stephanie did a yearlong residency at Harcourt House Gallery in Edmonton, AB and was nominated for the Emerging Artist of the Year for the Mayor’s Evening of the Arts Awards in Edmonton. In September 2009, Stephanie completed a two-month residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Banff, AB. During 2009 she received the Award of Achievement from the Alberta Craft Council for outstanding efforts in ceramics, and was listed among Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” in Edmonton. In 2012 Stephanie completed her Master of Applied Arts degree at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC.

Stephanie has taught art at various organizations in Edmonton, including the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, and Harcourt House Centre. She has taught art to all ages of elementary and secondary school, as well as adult classes and classes for developmentally disabled adults.

Master of Applied Arts Degree, Emily Carr University of Art and design (Sept 2010 - Oct 2012)

In 2013/2014, Stephanie taught all levels of undergraduate ceramics at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC.

She is currently doing a year-long residency at Medalta in Medicine Hat, AB.

 

Photographs by Stephanie Jonsson

Stephanie Jonsson Artist Statement

 Of personal interest to me is the common usage of botanical subjects in abstract and stylized form to decorate the surfaces of Arts and Crafts metalwork, ceramic, textiles, glass, and furniture. In response to John Ruskin's ideas these artists returned to the observation of nature in their work, and the phenomenon of appropriating nature, which started in the 19th century and continues into the present day.  However, over time, architects, designers, and artists have started to look less to nature as a source, and more to a synthetic nature. During the early nineteenth century, designers were not interested in capturing a naturalistic representation of a tendril from a plant, rather they were searching for a form that spoke to a universal plant. Victorian architects used the practice of conventionalization as a stylization of the leaf ornament, so asymmetry in the veins of a leaf would be abandoned in favour of symmetrical cutouts.  This reduction or stylization of the plant form in order to confirm to anthropocentric systems of order is precisely the type of appropriation in which I am interested.

 I find that the stylization of plants in the work of this period has re-emerged in a contemporary context and it is appearing in everything from interior design to website, furniture, and clothing design. Humans have continued to appropriate and manufacture nature.  I am particularly interested in the way that nature has been commodified as consumable imagery, and how the repetition of this imagery has become kitsch. 

For this new body of work, I used mostly extruded ceramic forms to produce multiples to create a sort of facsimile of nature.  Each repeated element is unique and flawed, yet somehow self-similar.  I use abstraction loosely: these sculptures do not accurately depict real world animals or plants, however, they merely make associations with creatures, specifically underwater ones.  The objects stay true to a sort of manufactured ecology: these sculptures are clearly made with techniques that are a product of culture, not nature.   

 In the piece, “Urban Urchins”, I found consumer objects that imitate natural forms and slip cast them to produce multiples, transforming them into a type of kitsch that is twice removed from nature: a facsimile of a facsimile of nature.  In this case, I found a replica of a sea urchin and cast it twenty five times.  Through the process of slip casting, the forms become mutated and distorted from their original form.  This is not unlike the process of evolution in nature, which requires self-replicating entities with tiny errors to sample other configurations.  New genes can be generated from an ancestral gene when a duplicate copy mutates and acquires a new function.  The generation of new genes can also involve small parts of several genes being duplicated, with these fragments then recombining to form new combinations with new functions.

 In “Urban Urchins”, the mutations of slip casting mimic the tiny “copy errors” in the process of evolution, and a whole new organism is created.  The organism that is created in my work is an artificial object that imitates nature and its processes.

I am not attempting to convey a solution to the multitude of problems that our environment faces, but rather to call attention to this curious cultural trend in hopes that a greater awareness will emerge on an individual level. Through reiterating natural forms; deconstructing and reassembling organic order, I am addressing a collective estrangement from our origins.

Be sure to check out  Stephanie Jonsson's website and blog for more information and images of her work. 

Medalta International Artists in Residence Program 

Set against the dramatic cliffs of the South Saskatchewan River in Medicine Hat, Alberta, the 150 acre Historic Clay District was once home to some of Canada’s most important clay factories, including Medalta Potteries, Hycroft China, National Porcelain and Alberta Clay Products. Today, this history is being preserved with the unique Medalta Potteries site providing the setting for a living, working museum, vibrant education centre, a Reception Gallery, and a 12,000 square foot contemporary ceramics studio, The Shaw International Centre for Contemporary Ceramics.

Operating out of the Shaw Centre, the Medalta International Artists in Residence Program is designed to serve artists at all stages of their careers. Students, emerging, and established artists are able to work together in our open, spacious, semi-private studios. The studio experience is one of cooperation and creativity. Artists come from all over the world and bring different experiences, techniques and ideas to our unique studios here in the Historic Clay District. Our studios are full of vibrant energy with resident ceramic artists, community education classes, workshops, and kids’ classes all combining to make this a vital working museum, education centre and studio complex.

 

New series underway - exploring and experimenting

My source of inspiration for my next series - tidal pools and those fabulous sea weed clusters that are all tangled and knotted up. I took the photographs at Tofino's Tonquin Beach Park.

IMG_4071.jpg

I am just in the beginning stages for this new body of work; exploring and experimenting in the studio with different approaches. Below are different stages of the work.

SKETCHBOOK DRAWINGS

IMG_4057.JPG
IMG_4058.jpg

SMALL STUDIES

The two images below are Stages I and II. They are backgrounds I am preparing for the tangled clusters work. I plan to subdue these pieces a bit more, adding in more areas of white. I will draw intricate pattern with pen and ink, similar to the two pieces above. 

Cricket Display Pins

I wanted to share with you these great display push pins. 

In my recent show at Lake Country Public Art Gallery the curator Katie Brennan used these to hang my unframed paper pieces. 

These Cricket display pins are amazing! No more holes in your paper from regular push pins. Once you know where your paper will be positioned on the wall you press the pin into the wall, then slip the corners of your paper under the flexible cricket wing. One of my pieces in the show  is 48" x 48" - it is quite heavy from several coats of gesso on the back and several coats of matte medium on the front. You can opt for them just in the top corners, but for this large piece the cricket display pins hold it securely in its four corners.

The cricket display pins are only available in the states but can be shipped to Canada via UPS and is extremely expensive. If any of you want some let me know and I will place an order and have it shipped to a friend in the states and will pick up next time I am there. Check it out.

http://www.papercricket.com

30 = $3.49   80 = $9.99

"Through the Strange, new essences, creating the world anew"

Well the show is up. You can see all the images on my website, click here:

In the picture below, I am giving an artist talk on my work. Petrina McNeill, the Lake Country Art Gallery manager is helping me to hold an accordion book with the collection of all the shapes I created in my "Transformations" series. On the table you can see a plate with pomegranates, pears, decorative corn and a a fresh ear of corn, a curtain tasssle and a potato masher. These are all the items that I abstracted from to create the hybrid shapes found in all the Transformation series.


What a great experience we had in Lake Country, B.C. We stayed in an Owner Direct Vacation Rental, which turned out to be the best accommodation for us. Two and half bedrooms that can sleep 7 people. As well the Grapewood Cottage had two bathrooms that had a spa like feel with heated tile floors. It had a very comfortable living room and everything you would want in a full kitchen and a washer and dryer.

The views were spectacular, across from us was Wood Lake and behind us was their 7 acre orchard including these black walnut trees. The next photo shows the view from the top of their orchard.

One day we drove to Predator Ridge and  Sparkling Hill Resort where we had a delicious lunch in a very fancy dining room with this million dollar view.

 

We had such a fabulous time in the Okanagon, great weather every day with the most beautiful scenery. The people there were so nice. My experience at  Lake Country Art Gallery  was wonderful, Katie Brennan the curator and Petrina were welcoming, helpful, and lovely women.

 

 Katie, Petrina and Jill

Katie, Petrina and Jill

Brand new "LandForms Series" completed

LandForms I

Details below - click to enlarge

LandForms II

Details below - click to enlarge

For more information on this series and close-up details on this series go to:   http://jillehlert.com/earth-traces/

"I am pleased to announce the opening of my newest show."

   
  
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      For Immediate Release   :    Two new exhibitions open at the Lake Country Art Gallery -   Oct 8th.   2014    The Lake Country Art Gallery is pleased to present two concurrent exhibitions from October 8th - November 15th, 2014. The first exhibition,    “Through the Strange - new essences, making the world anew”   ,   presents work by Vancouver-based artist Stephanie Jonsson and Jill Ehlert of Cobble Hill, on Vancouver Island. The second exhibition,    “Airport Visions ”  , presents works by local artist John van der Woude.      “Through the Strange - new essences, making the world anew”    is an exhibition of mixed media work that encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and textiles by Jill Ehlert and Stephanie Jonsson.     Jill Ehlert’s  works take the form of intricately layered drawings and collages that pull from a wide range of interests: nature, geology, organic forms, cellular structures, cycles of metamorphosis and regeneration. Objects from the natural world and manufactured objects are placed side-by-side, in direct relation, to draw attention to the discovery of similar patterns and forms. In her collages, actual objects, like books and lace, are incorporated into drawn and painted compositions.     In  Stephanie Jonsson’s  work, there is a similar interest in natural forms, which she transposes into ceramic and textile sculptural pieces. She plays with the contrasts of hard against soft, furry against cold and sharp to create new hybrid plant / animal creatures that are both familiar and newly strange.     This exploration of finding the strange in the familiar is extended in  “Airport Visions”,  in a solo exhibition of photographic works by Kelowna artist John van der Woude. van der Woude has taken between 700 - 800 screen captures from Google earth per piece of the world’s busiest airports and stitched them together to create composite photographic images that explore ideas of security vs. accessibility and the aerial aesthetics and visual appeal of how airports look from sky.     All the artists will be present at the opening, on Wednesday, Oct 8th from 6 – 8 PM. Jonsson and Ehlert will be on hand for an artist talk on Thursday, Oct 9th at 12 noon. They will speak further about their work in this exhibition, as well as previous work. van der Woude will have an artist talk on Saturday, Nov 1st at 3PM. All events are free and open to the public.        Katie Brennan, Curator       http://www.lakecountryartgallery.ca         

For Immediate Release:

Two new exhibitions open at the Lake Country Art Gallery - Oct 8th. 2014

The Lake Country Art Gallery is pleased to present two concurrent exhibitions from October 8th - November 15th, 2014. The first exhibition, “Through the Strange - new essences, making the world anew”presents work by Vancouver-based artist Stephanie Jonsson and Jill Ehlert of Cobble Hill, on Vancouver Island. The second exhibition, “Airport Visions, presents works by local artist John van der Woude. 

“Through the Strange - new essences, making the world anew” is an exhibition of mixed media work that encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and textiles by Jill Ehlert and Stephanie Jonsson.

Jill Ehlert’s works take the form of intricately layered drawings and collages that pull from a wide range of interests: nature, geology, organic forms, cellular structures, cycles of metamorphosis and regeneration. Objects from the natural world and manufactured objects are placed side-by-side, in direct relation, to draw attention to the discovery of similar patterns and forms. In her collages, actual objects, like books and lace, are incorporated into drawn and painted compositions. 

In Stephanie Jonsson’s work, there is a similar interest in natural forms, which she transposes into ceramic and textile sculptural pieces. She plays with the contrasts of hard against soft, furry against cold and sharp to create new hybrid plant / animal creatures that are both familiar and newly strange. 

This exploration of finding the strange in the familiar is extended in “Airport Visions”, in a solo exhibition of photographic works by Kelowna artist John van der Woude. van der Woude has taken between 700 - 800 screen captures from Google earth per piece of the world’s busiest airports and stitched them together to create composite photographic images that explore ideas of security vs. accessibility and the aerial aesthetics and visual appeal of how airports look from sky. 

All the artists will be present at the opening, on Wednesday, Oct 8th from 6 – 8 PM. Jonsson and Ehlert will be on hand for an artist talk on Thursday, Oct 9th at 12 noon. They will speak further about their work in this exhibition, as well as previous work. van der Woude will have an artist talk on Saturday, Nov 1st at 3PM. All events are free and open to the public. 

 Katie Brennan, Curator

 http://www.lakecountryartgallery.ca

 

Making Marks from Found Marks

Found Marks - Being open to accidental beauty.

You never know where you will find inspiration for making marks.

Step 1. I was pouring ink onto a sheet of Stonehenge paper, which I was holding over top of this piece of newsprint - this is what is left over after my pour. I found the marks spontaneous and interesting. 

Step 2. Inspired from the newspaper piece I drew marks on a new sheet of Stonehenge paper with a Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 Pencil.

"This chunky pencil functions as a coloured pencil, watercolour, and wax crayon all in one, it is perfect for a variety of techniques, and for those with endless imagination." 

Given that the Woody pencil is water soluble, once I drew with it, I used a brush dipped in water to wet areas touching the border of each shape, this way it created a halo-like effect around the mark, mimicking what I saw on the newsprint.

Step 3. I laid a piece of tracing paper on top of the Stonehenge paper from Step 2 and traced the marks that I had drawn, again with the Woody and wet the areas liken Step 2.

This final piece shows the tracing sitting over top of the piece that I had originally been pouring ink onto that had  created the inks spots on the newsprint.

Making Marks with Wax Resist II

 Using a white Sharpie Peel-Off China Marker as a resist tool. This is working really well with washes of Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold watercolour and M. Graham Artist Black Gouache. I tried washes of India ink but found it was too intense and covered the white, even with it diluted the India Ink made things grey or obscured the white lines completely. I could use an intense black wash of the gouache with great success.

I also experimented with a white oil pastel stick which yielded great results with the watercolour and gouache. The nice thing about the China marker is that the tip can be sharpened, giving  a finer line if that is desired compared to the more chubby oil pastel.  

Both the China marker and the pastel stick can go on top of the dried watercolour and gouache with more washes of colour applied on top...so it has a nice "go back and forth" process to it.

As well I used graphite in a stick form and found it also resists the watercolour and gouache.

Making Marks with Wax Resist I

I spent the entire day in the studio today experimenting with the wax resist process. I used "Susan Scheewe Wax Resist Sticks" that are a clear wax crayon. I purchased these a few years ago at Michaels. I also used a product by  "Sennelier oil pastel" called a transparent medium, also in stick form. As well I used a candle, which yields good results. 

I had to exert quite a bit of pressure with the clear wax crayon so that once I put an ink wash on top it would stand out -- otherwise it was too weak of a contrast and hard to see. I had excellent results with the "Sennelier" transparent stick. The downfall with it this product is that it is quite soft and leaves little chunks behind, which can be quite messy. So you have to be mindful to clean up immediately. I could mash this a bit into my finger tips and then impress my finger pads onto the paper to create different marks. I tried cheap oil pastels in colour but found the ink would cover it up or be absorbed into it. 

In the early stages of my experimentation this morning I started out with a cheap student grade India Ink. This is the type that comes in a huge bottle, it is not waterproof nor does it ever get black black. I quickly discovered this and switched to my Winsor & Newton Black Indian Ink, this product is water proof and yields a deep dark black. I found it made a world of difference using the quality brand.

I sometimes laid down a watercolour wash first on top of the wax resist, I let that dry and then came in with the India ink. I would always start with a watered down version and build up to a darker value.

Paper makes a difference as well, one that isn't as absorbent like a Stonehenge shows crisper white areas. BFK Rives is more absorbent, it had good results but somehow the wax gets a bit more covered over with the watercolour or ink than when it is on the harder Stonehenge paper.  Play around with both to see what you like the look of best. 

I have to put more time in to this wax resist technique, I didn't get the look I was after today. I discovered what looked best to my eye was to make marks repeatedly over the entire page, as a way to generate a pattern. Strong contrast with the India ink is very important.

Making Marks through Actions

Smoking paper

Drawing on top of smoked  piece 

 Smoked piece

Smoked piece

Burning holes

Scoring, Cutting, Puncturing, Piercing, Incising, Rubbing, Frottage, Hammering.