Last weekend, when I still couldn’t believe it, I arrived at Grounds For Sculpture park to start my residency. The first two days I was so amazed by the beauty of the ground, the landscape and the amount of works in the park. This amazement continued by the delightful hospitality of International Sculpture Center and Grounds For Sculpture staff during the week. After having the first breakfast with ISC and GFS’ staff I realized how much everyone is truly welcoming and excited to help us in our journey. Also I was lucky enough to be studio mate with the other artist in residence, Shawn Creeden, a free spirit artist who is a great participant in my adventures to see the night life in hidden corners of the beautifully designed landscape.
One of my happy surprises was to see our studio is located in the middle of lots of other studios with truly talented artists whose some of them work for Jojnson Atelier, making big scale sculptures. Having conversation about their artworks is such a great opportunity. I believe these conversations play a key role in art practice and I feel so lucky to get exposed to such a diverse community from US, Ghana, Japan, etc who were kind enough to throw a welcome party for us in the studio. In a nutshell, I feel so thrilled and excited to be part of this residency.
Coming here, I started my first day with a prompt from my last work.
Sink into a less vivid memory of sun
Use a marking tool
Draw the horizon of that moment
Having the prompt in my mind and being encouraged by Shawn to see the sunrise, I started my first wonder around the park from the sunset to the sun rise.
Dual life of the park
When noisy habitant of the park, specially humans and birds go to sleep, it is time for quiet but super active habitants of the park to show off. Thousands green dots that constantly move lead my eyes to the darkness of the woods; Fire flies. It was my first time seeing them. I feel so mesmerized by observing it that it becomes part of my night habits to observing their movements curiously every night. Influenced and amazed by this bright chaos, I started to do some sketches of horizon line drawing with glow in dark thread.
Drawing horizon of the moment, in this practice, raise the familiar question of where and how am I standing in the world. The answer to “where” is not only a geographical grid but as “Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks coined the concept of deep-mapping. In their words, a deep map “attempts to record and represent the grain and patina of place through juxtapositions and interpenetrations of the historical and the contemporary, the political and the poetic, the discursive and the sensual, the conflation […] and everything you might ever want to say about a place.”
The “how” question partially needs to address how am I connected with the other habitant of the place in a specific amount of time. Also how am I connected with all memories in the place that are lost or forgotten.
The sense of time becomes so tangible by the sunrise. Observing how slowly ray line makes flowers to bloom. The sense of time is strangely different here though. It is so hard to believe the park and most of its habitants are only 25 years old. Part of the unique look of the ground comes from exotic plants and trees that were transported here, some of them individually, some in cluster. Some were loved in their place of origin; some were abandoned from their original place of birth. The amazing combination of plants and trees from different parts of the world and doing paper works for my visa at the same time made me think about trees as immigrants who had their own journey to get to here. Now, I am working on a map of Tree immigration to the park. There is a beautiful library at the site that is such a great resource to research about it. Plants, staff and artists are not the only immigrants here, there are some others too; peacocks.
These neighbors are so sensitive to their reflection in glasses. When they see their reflection they will attack it as it is a rival. To help these competitive immigrants to come to peace, maybe it would be possible to do a quick afternoon workshop to do some painting on the glasses to stop the fight with non-existence competitor.
There is also an un-invited residence here in the park that everyone is in peace with it. A bike roughly 40 ft. high on a tree. No one knows how did it get there. The quiet presence of the bike triggers me to do something about it.
There are also forgotten objects and memories that activate the space in a different way. A tree that catch fire, a boat that now only exist in a painting, but used to be on the lake and a giant swing missing the sculpture who used to swing there.
By Nooshin Hakim Javadi