When visiting the current exhibition at Tinney Contemporary, CONTINUUM – New Work by Carol Mode, you’ll notice that one horizontal, grey, textured piece in the back room is specially labeled. Upon further inspection, you’ll note that while the piece, FORA, has been recently completed, its start date is from a little over a decade ago. Reading the accompanying description of the work, you’ll learn that Mode began FORA during her time as a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome in the 1990s. Looking at the piece, taking in her current work, and learning more about Mode’s background as an artist-in-residence all over the world, you may become curious, like I was, about how Mode’s experiences in these different artistic cultures, histories, landscapes, and tastes affected her portfolio and present work. In advance of this weekend’s First Saturday Art Crawl, Mode was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work and its relationship to her experiences -
One of the pieces in the current exhibition, FORA, was initially begun during your time as a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome in the 1990s. How or in what ways does your work from this period in Rome influence your current work?
Mode: The work FORA, a result of the experience at the Academy, definitely triggered a change in [my] approach to large work. I began collecting objects and tools around the Academy for use in mark making on the large roll of paper. My studio was enormous. The work was experimental, and the whole process of building layers and patterning led to all the work that followed. The stone work and grey architectural monuments led to a constant interest in greys. Something important that occurred was my continuous shift in approaches to painting, and I can say in earnest that the thrill I get in painting is about my experiments, challenges in process and constant learning.
You have been an artist in residence in several locations all around the United States and Europe - the Christoph Merian Foundation in Basel, Switzerlan), the Wurlitzer Foundation in New Mexico, and the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, and have also spent significant time in Nashville. Does the environment/culture/landscape of the cities in which you are living play into your work? If so, in what way?
Mode: Every residency led to change in my work, though there is the thread that ties all my years of painting together. In Basel, as one of eight international residents, the exposure to the world of minimalism and mostly non-traditional artists definitely opened up great avenues of thought in my work. Culturally, Basel being a city of brilliant contemporary museums, I created large bold works, all experimental. Travel within Switzerland, Germany and France was a huge influence. I researched museums and galleries everywhere, tried to see everything possible. In Taos, and also in Wyoming residencies, I had immense spaces, isolation, huge sweeping sky, and daily interaction with poets, fiction writers, composers, and other visual artist, mostly minimalists. I developed a series of 70 blue paintings in Taos, and a series of amazing large abstract landscape minimal paintings that were deeply influenced by both Wyoming and Taos, New Mexico.
If you, like me, are curious to learn more about Mode’s process and pieces, please join us and the artist for the closing reception of CONTINUUM at Tinney Contemporary this coming Saturday, June 7th from 6 – 9 pm. The exhibition will continue to run through June 21st at Tinney Contemporary (Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm or by appointment).