STAKER HENDRICKSON COLLABORATIONS – How it happens.
The New Oxford American Dictionary lists the word, Collaboration as “The action of working with someone to produce or create something.” Film, theater and music are collaborative endeavors that in general can only be realized with a creative group effort. Artists on the other hand are solitary, creating alone in their studios in many cases isolated from other artists. When two come together to collaborate either for a life time or for a moment, magic can happen. Over a life time, brothers ShanZuo and DaHuang Zhou have been painting seamlessly together. Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore (Gilbert & George) met in art school and ever since have been jointly creating in various media. Sometimes the circumstance of a moment is the catalyst such as, Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat who combined individual styles side by side on canvas not to mention Picasso and photographer, Gjon Mili who in cooperation created light drawings. Two artists bring their knowledge and experience to a collaboration. Distinct styles can give rise to a conversation that may not have otherwise happened. And through that conversation a creative richness can be unlocked for both.
Imagine what it would be like to turn over an artwork that you have created to someone who will be making additions to it. By that, you will lose control over the steps that you would normally take. When the work is returned to you, you say, “Now what do I do?”. You are now out of your comfort zone, your rhythm. Someone else’s marks are dictating the next decision. Processing this new visual information means rethinking how you normally create. Questions arise as well as emotions. You cannot help it. Excitement and anxiety are present at the same time. What will happen if you touch the work there or there? It could be the right decision helping you to finish the piece or it could be the wrong one ruining it completely. You consider these choices all the time in your own artwork. However, it is so much more difficult with the addition of another artist’s visual language. How do you respond to a language you don’t speak? As more questions arise, you somehow discover that you no longer have the need to impose yourself upon the work. It is about the work. You know that you have the visual skills to arrive at the completed composition. And with that, you are brave enough to face the fear of failure. In the end, you will truly reach the desired destination just in a different way from how you are in the habit of accomplishing it.
Pamela Staker and Kate Hendrickson fall into the second collaboration category of the circumstance of a moment. When Kate was sharing the story of a colleague’s collaborative woes, Pamela brought up in the conversation the question of whether or not they could collaborate. After discussing the pros and cons and clearly knowing the down side of the experience, they chose to forge ahead believing that working cooperatively could be an enriching and fun adventure. It was worth the potential pitfalls for the prospect of learning and changing things up in their respective practices. It would simple. If the collaboration was not working, they would terminate it. A lesson would be learned from that.
Fortunately, the collaboration has been as they had hopefully anticipated, a great learning experience as well as productive. Pamela and Kate are pleased with the resulting artwork. They have each found new vigor in their own practices. Thus at this moment, they have agreed without reservation to continue the collaboration to see where it takes them artistically. That being so, there will be more artwork created in partnership to come.
THE FIVE ELEMENTS – Contemporary Artist Duo Statement
As a young person, Pamela 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.
Kate’s family vacations to the beach filled her with glee as she scoured for shells. She recalls being at the water’s edge, entering the surf, bracing with each on coming wave and then finally diving into the them as would crest. She would focus on the bottom and the effervescent zone in between. Water’s ever changing power was potent.
Pamela’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. Staker’s 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.
Memories recalled from early morning walks and bike rides as well as Kate’s personal observations of what she sees and feels when swimming are merging. 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. Kate 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.
Pamela and Kate 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.