Collect ©2013 Jennifer Falck Linssen
Communication is an act of revelation. The Reveal Series combines textile motifs (cultural language) and calligraphic movement (written language) to express humanity's potential. Whether knots unbinding or sheaves of paper unfolding, the works illustrate the illuminative power of discovery. Knots serve to bind, fasten, and connect. When loosed, they reveal. The knots, folds, and turns of the Reveal Series are frozen in the act of revelation. They are a snapshot of movement and change - symbolic of the progression humans experience in self-actualization - learning who we are, and becoming who we want to be.
Many Reveal Series knot installations are carved with ikat patterns to further emphasize the subject matter of knots and folds and the cultural language of textiles. Ikat is a textile technique where threads are bound, dyed, and unbound to create pattern. Creating traditional ikat requires precision. The final woven textile patterns, however, look soft and blurry. There is an inherent contrast between how it looks and how it is made. The carved ikat lines resemble shimmering, moving light. The cut openings cast points of light on the inside of the object and on the outside space - glowing on the pedestal or wall behind it. These starry bits of light are emblematic of transformation - a concept I continue to be inspired by.
Pigments – those dry, insoluble powders that are the building blocks of artist’s mediums – create color by absorbing and reflecting certain wavelengths of light. To do this, the world of pigments is filled with individuality – organic versus inorganic, opaque versus transparent, gritty versus smooth, small versus large, natural versus man-made, undertone versus masstone, etc. These variations and the shifts in color they create are fascinating and innumerable. In 2020, a substantial shift in scheduling gave me the opportunity to examine in detail pigment characteristics. Having the time and space – physical and mental – to work on this research project was like an artist residency …only this time set in familiar surroundings. Confronted, though, with the constant barrage of painful news in the media headlines it was difficult to concentrate in the studio. I found that I needed to adapt my daily schedule. I reduced my news intake and then I began spending each daybreak outside. Morning after morning I cared for the garden and watched the gradual change of colors across the sky. These actions became a type of meditation, clearing my mind and allowing me to focus on one thing at a time in the studio and in life. Each evening I’d return to the garden, watching the plants mature, watching the world move at its normal pace, watching the sun color the sky each night as it slipped beyond the tree line, and feeling heartened and inspired. I was witnessing change - of the sky and of life. And so those early and late moments each day began feeding ideas in the studio and meshing with the methodical testing and charting of pigment interactions. In my periphery the world was spinning fast in the headlines, but I was finding the quiet stillness to work. And out of this time grew a series investigating the intersection of subtle nuances in color, luminosity, and the pattern of atmospheric light.
It's a long distance north to south along the flyways and migration routes from Canada and the Upper Midwest to the Gulf Coast and South American rain forests. Against great odds birds migrate this distance each year. The impetus for Flow, an exhibition on bird migration, began one cold January week when I escaped the frozen north for the lush green vegetation and mild temperatures of the Florida coast. As I hiked and kayaked, I noticed the dense populations of birds making their winter home along the coast. It was with curiosity and wonder that I watched and studied these small creatures, considering the great lengths they traveled as they crossed the continent. With this thought in mind and as the seasons passed that year, I began to consider how my surroundings in northern Wisconsin served their needs each summer and how each patch of land north to south served them as well. This habitat, though exceedingly diverse and often compromised, is essential. It was those connections that spurred artworks on these varied and beautiful creatures and the habitat that supports them.
I took it for granted. After all, wasn't it everywhere? At least it had been growing up in Northern Wisconsin. But in Colorado, it was a different story. The first time I really took notice was the new-to-me news that installing a rain barrel to gather rain and water my freshly planted garden was an illegal act - fineable by law. Water was handled differently there. As it turned out, the water falling on one's roof was not one's own to keep. It was a resource. Scarce and quantifiable. Bought and sold. "My" water wasn't really my water. My water and everyone else's in Colorado is collected in multiple ways by municipalities and dispensed accordingly - whether pumped up from aquifers, divvied up from rivers and streams, collected in reservoirs, or selectively managed through extensive ditch systems. This world of water restrictions was an eye opener, and so began my inquiry into water sourcing, water rights, preservation, conservation, and restoration.
My interest in water followed me home to Wisconsin thirteen years later. And as my husband and I attempt to restore the woodland behind our house and studio, I find myself continually interested in land health and its twin sister, water health. They go hand in hand. I'm back in the land of plentiful water - from lakes, rivers, streams, and a substantial yearly precipitation. But what I find is that the land and water I took for granted as a child and young adult has changed. It has been altered by invasive non-native plants, quickly draining aquifers, and tainted with nitrates and bacteria.
Water in Wisconsin used to seem so simple, so abundant, so pure. With my eyes open now, I find it a complex issue, but nonetheless a stunningly beautiful inspiration. In my work as an artist and sculptor I attempt to capture moments in time of fleeting, transitory beauty. I distill the multifaceted beauty of water into fundamental line and form. This interest in the beauty of nature - its quiet stillness and gentle grace - continually renews my spirit, no matter how complex the issues surrounding it. And interpreting it in the medium of katagami-style hand carved paper and metal sculpture is my way of capturing that beauty and purity forever.
This series began with a discovery. Thirteen years ago I learned the water I took for granted - water that seemed to be everywhere and used by everyone - could be rationed. It was a commodity, a resource bought and sold, seemingly so simple and yet so complex. Parched Series artworks highlight the significance of rain or the lack there of. It is a series bent on spreading awareness about the critical issue of water resources.
I find individual receptiveness and perception fascinating. Consider the childhood game of playing "telephone" where one child whispers in the next child's ear what they think they heard and by the end of a long line of children the original sentence is never the same. Every human appears to see and hear the world uniquely, both on a deeply basic exclusive level and collectively in groups. Language, both word and visual, can be a tool for understanding and connection. But it may also effect the opposite. Through the Echoes and Artifacts Series I work with the visual tools of carved paper, movement, shadow, and light to investigate how we perceive, conclude, and choose to associate or separate based on fragile perceptions.
The Fire & Emotion Series conceptually seeks to express the intimate, tender, emotional interactions of humans through abstract, gestural forms. Each sculpture embodies the emotive qualities, those frozen moments special to one's heart, of family and love, particularly the essential elements of contentment, affection, and devotion. Through the compositional form - symbolic of empathy, Fire & Emotion works communicate harmony and unity - vital components in humanity's resilience in the face of change.
The Wave/Water Series focuses on the striking dialogue between moments so finite as to disappear in seconds and yet so vast and grand as to mirror the infinite.
All the information necessary to grow a plant can be found in a tiny seed. That seed grows, changes, expands, and expires only to begin again - cyclical, beautiful, and enduring. The Earth Series investigates these minute patterns of nature and studies their relationship to larger systems of order in the universe.
Wind on the high arid plains of Colorado sculpts the landscape with impressive force and is a constant wonder and inspiration for my work. The Wind Series is a study in contrasts - at times powerful and aggressive, at others graceful and fluid. The wind is a continual marker of the world in flux.