BONNIE CHRISTENSEN 1995-96
Thank you, Bud and Betty Micheels, for awarding me the Student Artist-In-Residence grant. The art and technology emphasis has added a challenging dimension to my final year at Stout as an art student. You had a vision for growth that enabled Stout to develop the largest undergrad art department in the State of Wisconsin. It is only natural that you would propose and fund a grant such as this.
This show is dedicated to a teacher I have had for eight semesters. He is now my mentor and friend. He is truly a student's teacher and encourages personal growth in a way that would make Bud Micheels proud. His insight has helped me make a smooth transition from one career to another. He has never said, "No, you can't do it," but "you can do anything you want," often enough that I came to believe it. Thank you, Humphrey Gilbert, from the bottom of my heart! You are a terrific human being and teacher!
Art, by it's very nature, is frequently a by-product of technology. We've come a long way since blowing pigment on cave walls through reeds. An observant woman probably realized the potential of fired clay in an ancient cooking pit. Each century has added to man's use of new processes to aid life with practical tools, which, while functional, also were vehicles for artistic expression. Rather simple technologies reflect the naturally inspired quality of my work. Although the mere mention of the word technology often evokes the thought of computers, machines, and a related sense of impersonal construction, I think technology is more humanized through my style of art.
My proposal was to create containers that evoke the viewer's curiosity and invite interaction. They can be precious objects which hold even smaller treasures which may be memorials to some of life's passages. They can be a type of personal shrine for fond memories. There seems to be a human desire to preserve the mementos of our life and containers fill this function well. They have highly individual meaning as each owner selects personal contents. They don't even have to be opened for the memory to be evoked as their mere presence is able to remind you of multiple connections to the past. My goal was to push the concept of container combining art and technology in a riskier structure. The reality was that I was humbled in my year of experimentation and I didn't do everything that I would have liked to have done. My hope is, however, that you enjoy my work and think about what you might place inside each one or what connections they make to your life.