Prints from Zea Mays Printmaking Artist Mentorship Program Alumni Terry Wise, Ren Cannon and Lee Thomson

May 17-June 9, 2024

Japanese Anemone - Terry Wise

Artist Statement

This woodcut was developed in a Moku Hanga workshop with Annie Bissett at Zea Mays Printmaking at the beginning of my mentorship with Meredith Broberg. During the mentorship, I continued developing more “tabletop” imagery in woodcut and also printed many iterations of abstract imagery using a variety of plates carved with shapes and lines. We focused on all aspects of composition, studio discipline, motivation, and pleasure. The most fun came with collaging my printed papers (bad prints and brayer roll-offs) into spring flower portraits.

Mentorship Statement

My mentorship with Meredith Broberg from October 2022 through June 2023 was rich and challenging, and ultimately very productive. Our first meeting was in person, which gave me the opportunity to share my studio space, archive of paintings, and personal art collection in order for Meredith to get to know me and my art life. After that, we met virtually every other week.

I shared work I was creating throughout the mentorship via Google slides, and Meredith created slide shows of inspiring images by other artists on various topics, such as composition, color, mark making, edges. We tackled issues such as structuring a weekly schedule to keep room for my art life; warm-up exercises for open-ended exploration; recognizing and resisting the critical voice in my head. Meredith’s advice and critique of my ongoing work was always thoughtful, kind, encouraging, and accurate. She recognized my visual tendencies and challenged me to step away, push against them. I sensed a need for accountability in order to be ready for each session, and over the course of nine months I created several bodies of new work: woodcut, collage, and oil paintings.

But more than that, we went deep. In every meeting, she asked the grounding questions: what have I been excited about? What were the challenges? How do I want to experience my art life? What imagery do I respond to? She helped me create a tool kit for dealing with self-doubt, and rituals for getting into the process of making. She encouraged me to be ambitious and dedicated without creating huge expectations. Once, when I questioned the value of being an artist, her truthful response was “A world without art is terrifying!”

Meredith continually offered affirmation of my strengths as an artist. Ultimately, she asked me to verbalize: What is my story? My intuitive answer was: bringing joy to others with my artwork. Beyond that, Meredith assured me, the goal is a full and enjoyable art life. Society doesn’t recognize the pursuit, only the product. In the end, the pursuit is everything.

Thank you, Meredith.

Terry Wise

May 2024

Untitled - Ren Cannon

Artist Statement

I’m interested in the impacts of humanity on nature. The color palette for these pieces comes from mining waste, specifically from the Gold King Mine spill which took place on 5 August 2015. The spill turned the Animas river a stunning ochre color from the origin near Silverton, CO all the way into New Mexico, through the Navajo Nation and into Utah. I’m often struck by the beauty and unexpected colors from environmental damage; it’s this push-pull of aesthetics vs horror at the damage humanity does on a daily basis to the planet. My hope is that my work embodies a similar dissonance: beautiful and interesting, but also a little unsettling.

These pieces were started during my mentorship, and some when I traveled out to Zea Mays for a week. They’re different for me in a lot of ways, not the least because a health emergency made it so I couldn’t make art for about 3 years. I hadn’t printed until I started my mentorship and with Nancy’s help, the studio went from being a place of trauma to a place of creativity and joy and excitement. I’m so happy to be showing my work here, and to be making again.

Mentorship Statement

I came into this mentorship program wanting to get back to work, but unable to connect with my practice due to the aftermath of a medical emergency. From the first session, Nancy and I looked at eachother through our cameras and computers and just connected in a way that really allowed me to trust her guidance and try new things. I learned how to play and experiment again, and new print techniques every session. It was a year of hard work, but also a joyous collaboration. I’m a better artist and printmaker because of the community at Zea Mays. When I came out to visit, I was blown away by the inclusivity and welcoming spirit of the place. I’m deeply grateful that I was able to be part of the program and get to know this amazing community.

Right Whale - Lee Thomson

 

Mentorship Statement

I was Artist in Residence on a tall ship, SSV Corwith Cramer, for three weeks last spring. We went from Miami to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, from mid-April to the first week of May. My mandate was thee-fold: to make art in public, to encourage others to make art, and to take visual notes for a larger work about the Gulf Stream to be completed when I returned to my studio.

Space on a ship is precious. I had only the space in my bunk to store things. I took a small painting kit, and pencils, and a stack of Artist Trading Cards. I tried to paint a view  of the sky and ocean daily, and to record the fauna that we saw over the course of the trip in drawings. I used the animal drawings to make black line drawings that I turned into cyanotypes.

I am taking my knowledge of sea-going art-making to the Arctic this fall, to the Arctic Circle Artist Residency. Working with my mentor, Meredith, improved my application to both programs, and clarified the work I wanted to do while at sea.