Meet Anne Beck!
One week to go! In anticipation of the start of our residency, meet Anne Beck, Fort Bragg based artist and our last to be featured on our blog this season!
1. Tell us briefly about the focus of your work. What are some of the themes you are exploring these days?
For the past five years my life has been dedicated to Lost Coast Culture Machine, a contemporary art outpost in Fort Bragg, CA focusing on socially engaged & sustainable creative practice. With the close of Lost Coast Culture Machine’s physical space in May, I’m now in the process of reinventing my self & delving back into a studio practice.
Broadly, I seem to be settling into the roles of amateur naturalist, lay surveyor, and naïve assessor & analyst of the current landscape – collecting specimens & recording data, cataloguing that which seems useful, and investigating further that which seems impermeable. This is all in the context of envisioning a sustainable path forward for myself and the planet, which is often a playful exercise in the face of absurd & complex circumstance.
To this end, I’m currently working in three distinct directions & we’ll see what surfaces: 1. A series of interactive quilts intended to provide warmth and direction - riffing off the legend that quilts were used as maps & path markers on the Underground Railroad; 2. A series of books attempting a Rudimentary Understanding of Industry and Manufacturing; and 3. A series of books and work for the wall: LANDLOOKER! A Cursory Survey of Land-Use Traveling from New York to California and Back Again, 2008 – 2015 which I’m excited to pursue at Project 387.
2. What are you looking at, reading, or listening to right now that is influencing your work or process?
Dard Hunter’s Papermaking – The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft.
I’ve just been to the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia where I was studying the History of European & American Papermaking with Timothy Barrett of the University of Iowa Center for the Book and John Bidwell of the Morgan Library in New York. I’ve returned to California with leftover bags of hemp & cotton, flax, and mulberry pulp & renewed inspiration for making work with, on, and of paper, and especially to experiment with the bast fibers from the byproduct of Northern California’s medical cannabis farmers.
Mendocino County’s abundance of alternative, rural & sustainable living skills in renewable energy sources, biodynamic farming, foraging & wildcrafting, herbal medicine and so on and so forth.
For trying to understand the physiology and philosophy of Qi or Chi:
Michio Kushi’s Introduction to Oriental Diagnosis & Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold’s Between Heaven and Earth, A Guide to Chinese Medicine.
Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction on the current wave of extinctions caused by human activity.
The Toxic 100 Air Polluters Index & the Toxic 100 Water Polluters Index from the Political Economy Research Institute at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Colm Toibin’s The South – a woman artist paints the landscape hypotactically – “The valley as though painted from beneath, as though it were a map.”
Maps, Charts, Graphs, Family Trees & other branching structures.
3. What does a typical day in the studio/office look like for you?
Pretty experimental and chaotic at present with many projects happening at once: bouncing between a book binding, cutting and printing pages for another book, deliberating on the next step in a cast paper sculpture (or is it a drawing?), laying out a quilt, long periods of research, a walk in the woods or on the beach.
4. What's the best advice someone has giving you about your work? The worst?
The best advice: Not to undermine all the people that have given me little tidbits of inspiration & advice, but I think I’m still waiting for the best.
The worst advice: a critique in grad school where the professor began saying that I knew nothing about art and ended saying my work was so ‘felt’ that it was better than Beuys.
5. Are you involved in any upcoming shows/events/happenings?
I’m participating in the Governors Island Art Fair in New York this September with Art Shape Mammoth, and am looking forward to more beyond.
6. Is there one particular thing you are most looking forward to at Project 387?
Sustained studio time in a creative atmosphere & good conversation. Maybe the best advice about my work.