Nature plays a powerful roll in both Kate Hendrickson and Pamela Staker’s art work. Both have childhood experiences that continue to thread their way into their lives and influence their visions. During Hendrickson family vacations to the beach, she was filled with glee as she scoured for shells. She recalls being at the water’s edge, entering the surf, bracing against each on coming wave and then finally diving into them as they would crest. She would focus on the bottom and the effervescent zone in between. Water’s ever changing power was potent. As a young person, Staker felt at peace and inspired in the outdoors while visiting her grandfather’s cabin. As she grew older, she watched nature reclaim the structure and everything around it because he was no longer there to care for it. She grew up fascinated by nature’s abiding persistence and ability to overcome human interventions if given the chance at every turn.
Hendrickson and Staker are bringing together their respective viewpoints and subject matter which are being interlaced into a shared body of work. The collaboration captures the five elements of nature; air, water, fire and earth plus the fifth, aether which depending on the cultural ethos, is defined either as space/the material which fills the universe or sky/heaven or as wood or as beyond the senses. Knowledge, experience, distinct styles and the ensuing conversation have unlocked a creative richness for both artists.
Memories recalled from early morning walks and bike rides as well as Hendrickson’s personal observations of what she sees and feels when swimming have merged. A cityscape on the water’s edge interacting with dramatic weather creates potent visual snapshots of transforming architecture. Foreboding weather over a body of water seen from the shore is unnerving and spell binding at the same time. The effervescent zone where sea meets land is full of energy and power as well as enchantment depending on the weather’s temperament and terrain’s formations. She translates what she perceives through light, shadow and movement. Color choices are influenced by the experiential moments in nature and urban environs. The layering of lines and shapes of varied hues and values brings the perception to life. The underlying architectural structure helps freeze the experiential moment and allows visual weaving throughout the composition’s space.
Staker’s work has an urban/rural duality strongly influenced by growing up in a small Midwestern town and then transplanting to downtown Chicago directly after art school. She is forever trying to capture fragments of the colors and shapes etched in her memory and mix them with her current observations as a city dweller. Her art-making process is a performance of sorts – spontaneously choreographed, playful, sensitive, and free-flowing. She allows herself a great deal of freedom in paint handling, creating energy in the works by applying marks quickly and with a confidence that is intuitive and decidedly unfussy.