Last Wednesday was our first Community Studio: Sculpture session in our newly renovated Barn Studio at the Empower Youth RanchCommunity Studio is a free art program for all ages led by SOIL SERIES artists with assistance from Empower Youth interns. Our Community Studios offer a dedicated time and place for creativity, inviting participants to broaden their definition of art and follow new pathways of thinking and making.

During our first Community Studio: Sculpture session, we discussed these questions:

  • What is sculpture?
  • What do you think makes a sculpture “good” or “bad”?
  • What do you use to make a sculpture?
  • How does creating a sculpture make you feel?
  • Why should a person make a sculpture?

We then transitioned into talking about assemblage. Assemblage is a form of sculpture comprised of everyday, “found” objects, often disparate elements scavenged by the artist.

The artists we looked at included Louise NevelsonJoseph CornellJohann Dieter WassmannRobert Rauschenberg, and Pablo Picasso. Looking at these artists and their work helped us think about art can be a tool for understanding our lives. We applied this idea to our first project: using assemblage to help us get to know the Empower Youth Ranch.

We talked about how assembling objects collected from around the ranch would begin to tell a story about the place and its history. The objects we chose and the way in which they were assembled would then represent our diverse perceptions of the ranch, creating a dialogue between the place and us. We agreed that if we get to know our ranch better then we might be able to love and care for it in better ways.

We began by exploring the ranch and scavenging for objects.

After hauling our findings back into our Barn Studio, we began piecing together our assemblages.

Some artist chose to paint their work like Louise Nevelson (above), and others wanted to leave the materials as-is.

This was our first week of working on our assemblage sculptures, but we will continue next time we meet to explore the ranch and our new compositions! Come scavenge and assemble with us!

Posted by:SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing

SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing was a process of serial socially engaged research facilitated by artists Francesca Fiore and Hillary Wagner in collaboration with the rural community of Bethel in Appalachian Ohio. From 2017 to 2019 SOIL SERIES took many forms including conversations, public programs, projects, and collective imagining. A drawing in the most expansive sense, SOIL SERIES was an exercise in relational mark-making. By creating the conditions for new conversations and possibilities around artmaking, the public, and social imagination, SOIL SERIES proposed social drawing as the generative engine for community-initiated action.

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