Meet the Artist in Residence: Sam Rathbun

Sam Rathbun, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of February 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Sam some questions about her work and studio practice:

Sam Rathbun

Sam Rathbun

Q: Please you tell us about your background.
I grew up on a multi-generational farm in Naples, NY. After graduating high school, I pursued a degree in international development from Tulane University, however after taking a required drawing class, I dropped my major and transferred to SUNY New Paltz where I received my BFA in painting and drawing. I currently work at Salem Art Works (SAW), an artist residency, sculpture park, and community arts hub on the border of NY and Vermont.

Heimlich, paint, ink, muslin. Variable dimensions. 2016

Heimlich, paint, ink, muslin. Variable dimensions. 2016

Q: How would you describe your work?
In school I focused almost exclusively on painting and drawing and developed a method of utilizing drawn interiors to examine the boundaries of memory and perception. A few months after graduating I participated in a residency at SAW where I began working three dimensionally. During the first week of my residency, my family’s oldest barn caught fire and completely burnt down. This event changed the trajectory of both my subject matter and material use.

Currently, my work concerns processes of production, manufacturing, transportation, and marketing of goods, particularly those rooted in agriculture. I’ve found a reservoir of absurdity while examining my own ignorance as a consumer, especially considering I was raised by production.

Recently, I have limited myself to ink drawings when working two-dimensionally, but have no material restrictions when working sculpturally — although I do have a fondness for gummy materials like beeswax and rubber.

Once We Carried. Used conveyor belts, re-used and new elevator bolts, 11" x 25" x 6 ". Salem Art Works, 2017

Once We Carried. Used conveyor belts, re-used and new elevator bolts, 11″ x 25″ x 6 “. Salem Art Works, 2017

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Research and play compose the foundation of my work. I latch onto bits of information that I read, hear, or see and store them until I find one or more complementary components. I think finding the link between these seemingly exclusive ideas or materials is the soul of my practice.

 Memory Merchandise. Fabricated steel, cast iron, paint, 14’ x 20’6” x 12’9”. Franconia Sculpture Park, MN, 2017

Memory Merchandise. Fabricated steel, cast iron, paint, 14’ x 20’6” x 12’9”. Franconia Sculpture Park, MN, 2017

Q: Who is your favorite artist?
Currently I’m really into the work of Janine Antoni. I’m most interested in her process. She’s able to transform rudimentary, visceral actions into poetry. Viewers see her sculptures as remnants of a transformation and are left to imagine the steps in between. Other artists who are constant sources of inspiration are Martín Ramírez, Mika Rottenberg, and Ambera Wellmann. Ramírez’s drawings are a testament to his need to make work and both Rottenberg and Wellmann share this absurdist humor that I obsess over.

Janine Antoni: Eureka. Bathtub, lard, soap, and Dorian, 1993

Janine Antoni: Eureka. Bathtub, lard, soap, and Dorian, 1993

Q: Who inspires you?
Within the past two years, I’ve noticed how integral reading is to my practice. Two of the most influential books that I reference are the Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. The project I’ll be working on at MSA was almost entirely conceived from a paragraph in the Jungle where Sinclair describes why slaughter houses were built vertically. Animals would walk up a ramp to the top floor and by the time their bodies came back to ground level they were completely transformed, packaged, and ready to ship.

Creamery. Ink on paper , 36.5" x 95", 2018

Creamery. Ink on paper , 36.5″ x 95″, 2018

Q: What type of music do you listen to?
I will try pretty much any type of music. I’m looking at my recently played songs and I have everything from FIDLAR to Erykah Badu. I also listen to podcasts and audiobooks while I work– I just started Murakamis, Kafka on The Shore.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I made several large wooden frames that roughly represent the layout of factories where raw goods are transformed. During my residency I anticipate creating ink drawings to hang within the framework. I also hope to add to this installation by creating a space to hold several glass and latex sculptures.

Water rehab "grassholes", Ink on paper. 36.5" x 93", 2018

Water rehab “grassholes”, Ink on paper. 36.5″ x 93″, 2018

Q: What’s next for you?
I anticipate working as Salem Art Works for another season as the Young Artist Coordinator and using my winter to participate in more residencies.

Q: Where else can we find you?
My website is www.samrathbun.com and I just started an Instagram: @sathbun.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Eve Bobrow

Eve Bobrow, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of February 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Eve some questions about their work and studio practice:

Artist Eve Bobrow

Artist Eve Bobrow

Q: Please tell us about your background:
I grew up in Rochester, NY and have recently returned after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. I originally went to school for design and computer science with the goal of working in the video game industry but transferred to architecture during my freshman year. Even while studying architecture I knew my real passion was for art, but the technical education gave me a whole new perspective to work from.

"Columnar" Drawing and Collage on Mylar; 24" x 36", 2016

“Columnar” Drawing and Collage on Mylar; 24″ x 36″, 2016

Q: How would you describe your work?
My primary focus in my work is the intersection between quantitative study and emotional experience. I like to draw from technical aesthetics, like user manuals, city plans, and blueprints, to legitimize the subject matter, or to explore a concept more deeply through technical practices.

"Thought Projection" Drawing on Mylar; 24"x36"; 2018.

“Thought Projection” Drawing on Mylar; 24″x36″; 2018.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I usually start with a burst of productivity, which could be anything from intensive research to rapid prototyping. After I’ve iterated myself into a corner and gotten everything out of my system I will often step back and take an entirely different approach. Occasionally I will have an idea that requires a more precise plan and workflow, but normally there is a lot of chaotic collaging and those string maps detectives make.

"Haunted Alton"; Digital (Photocopied), Cover and 2 Pages of 28; 8.5"x11"; 2018

“Haunted Alton”; Digital (Photocopied), Cover and 2 Pages of 28; 8.5″x11″; 2018

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’m hoping to make as much as possible! I haven’t had my own studio in several months so I’m excited to get into the space and spread out. Because of space constraints I’ve been working digitally lately, or on screenprinting projects with my friend/main collaborator Finnegan Roy-Nyline, that he is printing at his studio in Minneapolis.

"Untitled" 3 Color Screenprint; 8"x10"; 2019

“Big Thought” (Created in Collaboration with Finnegan Roy-Nyline)  3 Color Screenprint; 8″x10″; 2019

Q: Do you collect anything?
Yes! I’m a sucker for paper goods from the 60s-80s. I have a growing collection of USGS maps, old magazines, botany books, carving books, and basically any kind of craft book. My favorite is a two volume set of songbird carving books that had a little hand drawn pattern for a wren tucked in the pages. I also collect kodachrome slides, vintage electronics, and nice rocks.

"Collograph" Drawing Machine Output, Ink, Pencil, and Etching on Mylar; 24"x36"; 2018

“Collograph” Drawing Machine Output, Ink, Pencil, and Etching on Mylar; 24″x36″; 2018

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why? Who are your favorite local artists?
It’s a tie between Rueben Margolin and Mark Dion, both of them in different ways bring a scientific approach to their art practice that I’m really inspired by. Locally I really love Heather Swenson’s work, I think she’s doing some really interesting things with her screenprinting practice.

Bobrow_E_09

Q: What’s next for you?
I have another residency in April and May, but until then I’m working on a couple different book projects/collaborations and continuing to apply for more things. I’m hoping to move to Minneapolis sometime this summer, but there’s still a lot to consider.

Q: Where else can we find you?
I’m currently redoing my website but you can find me on Instagram @evebobrow for updates on what I’m working on.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Nancy Wiley

My name is Nancy Wiley and I’m honored that my series of portraits is on display as part of the Perception of Time exhibit that is currently at Main Street Arts.

Nancy Wiley at Main Street Arts

Group of my paintings in the exhibition

I have always loved painting individual portraits in oils. I love people, especially faces — trying to get a likeness and portraying some aspect of each subject has always fascinated me.

Recently, my thoughts have turned to the kids growing up in our country right now— the adolescents who have been labeled “Generation Z” in the current culture. I have met quite a few (I’ll admit my own children are in this group) and a common thread I have noticed is that being true to themselves and being honest about who they are is very important to them, sometimes when it isn’t easy or if it challenges old social norms.

Sketch

Sketch

I decided to do a series of these individual portraits, and show them grouped together and in various states of being finished, as they are still physically and emotionally changing and emerging into adulthood.

My idea is to do as many as I can and then show them together in large groups. This would hopefully portray them as peers in a way or as part of a whole — a “generation”.

IMG_20181211_155254836 (1)

The process of painting so many young people has caused me to think about what I was like at their age and what the world was like then. Contrasting that to current times, so many things are different in ways I could not have fathomed.

And also I think about the future and what it holds for these kids —how life will shape them and how they will live in the world.

My daughter posing in front of my portrait of her during the opening reception

My daughter posing in front of my portrait of her during the opening reception

And so I continue to find them compelling subjects to paint. I hope the series will possibly evoke thoughts from the viewer about his or her own perspective about time and change — individuality and the identity of different generations.


Nancy Wiley is one of seven artists featured in the exhibition Perception of Time at Main Street Arts. The exhibition can be previewed on the gallery’s Artsy page. Perception of Time runs through February 15, 2019.