Sharon Jewell – Artist in Residence and Curator

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Photos by Charles Zuber 

“The residency this year has been amazing – an intensive immersion in Nature and working with natural materials in the land… and not coming here with a particular idea but more about the unexpected and surprises. Comparing this to the white cube of the gallery – we don’t have to start with a blank page like in a drawing – The environment says that there is no blank slate – we are already here, we have to interact with what is already living and existing. The white cube is a mediated environment, despite its “emptiness.”

Sharon Jewell has acted as curator to the group of artists in residence for this Lines, and everyone I spoke to or interviewed spoke very strongly of how her support and insight into their work gently pushed them to take chances and create something ‘outside the box’ for themselves and for viewers as well.

Sharon has been responsible not only for making us all comfortable, cooking us amazing meals, helping us meet the physical as well as the conceptual challenges of working in Nature, she has really been the heartbeat of the artists’ residencies… creating an atmosphere conducive to process-oriented work. She has enabled us to dig into being immersed in our work, talking about it and living it. Truly a real gift.

Sharon’s installations along the Gorge Walk are subtle in their ability to inhabit a space that’s not quite art, not quite Nature. And so looking at them, one formulates questions about how we as humans fit into Nature… Especially at this moment in time, when we are embarking on so many technological experiments whose outcomes and influences can only be guessed, Sharon’s inquiry reminds us to truly consider looking past the surface of things and to notice what is really right in front of us… and to give it value.

“I got all the presents I wanted (here at Lines) – to have artists together working by day, eating by night, sharing their rich art experience.

“It was important that it was outside in Nature… I’m not an administrator – I don’t feel a strong connection with good sense. If there’s a common sense, then I’m not part of that common —  I haven’t paid that subscription! When it comes to art and the nature of it I am a deep thinker – but when it comes to practical things I’m a bit of a gumby – deadlines and filling out forms — I’m just not that into it.

“You’re kind of adrift here being on the island. The focus is completely on what you’re doing – maybe it’s possible to really focus on what we want to do because we’re isolated.”  

The excellence of the artworks produced here at Lines this year was particularly evident in how the work encouraged thought and meditation on Nature and our relationship to the natural world as individuals, as communities and as a species. 

Thanks, Sharon.

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