A Panel Discussion of the Personal and Collaborative Studio
Practice of the 2014 Pilchuck Hauberg Fellows
Content in this issue calls attention to a wide variety of the presenters at the upcoming GAS Conference in Corning, New York. Not that they need my help, but I was interested in writing about the members of the 2014 Pilchuck Hauberg Fellowship who are conducting a panel discussion based on collaboration.
I am fortunate enough to know most of the members of this group…varying degrees of familiarity with these individuals who I not only admire personally, but turn to for professional mentoring, advice, and camaraderie.
The article below is the culmination of a conversation had with all the 2014 Hauberg Fellows over several emails this past March regarding their personal practice, their collaborative dynamic, the origin story of them getting together, and observances of this collaboration upon how they think, make, teach and curate. It is the draft I submitted in its full, unedited version to serve as supplemental material to what is seen in the Summer 2016 issue of GASnews:
The 2016 “Careers in Art Panel” features a team of six artists that came together as the Pilchuck Glass School’s 2014 Hauberg Fellows. The fellowship, which began in 2002, is named after Pilchuck co-founder John H. Hauberg (1916-2002) and was established to encourage collaboration among a small group of established and dynamic artists…artists who are invited to create new work and conduct research of new making practices on Pilchuck’s campus based on a common theme or a project of shared interest.
In 2014, the Hauberg Fellows included, Amie McNeel (Artist and Associate Professsor at the University of Washington; Seattle, WA), Rachel Moore (Artist, Curator, and Artistic Director at Helen Day Art Center; Stowe, VT), Jackie Pancari (Artist; Alfred, New York), Kait Rhoads (Sculptor; Seattle, WA), Robin Cass (Artist, Associate Dean and Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology; Rochester, NY) and Norwood Viviano (Artist, Associate Professor and Sculpture Program Coordinator at Grand Valley State University; Allendale, MI).
Each individual came to the Fellowship already having an established making practice, an internationally recognized body of work, and a shared integration of glass within their studio practice. Although an incredibly diverse and varied approach amongst the group as to how glass is used, thought about, and technically executed within their work, a congruent element nonetheless. Even so, aside from these noticeable consistencies amongst the group, the 2014 Hauberg Fellows had found several thematic and aesthetic qualities of interest that tied the group’s individual artistic ambitions into a collective whole.
“We proposed that the micro/macro in our work tied us together. But it was also a shared history, knowledge, and appreciation of each other’s work,” says Moore. “There were two [individuals] that had the idea [of applying to the Hauberg Fellowship] and reached out to invite the others, presumably because of the anticipation that we would all work well together. And what a wonderful idea this happened to be!”
“I didn’t think about what the future would bring
In those short two weeks of the Fellowship back in 2014, the Hauberg Fellows set on enhancing elements of their individual practice, as well as coming together to develop a joint approach to creative inquiry, too. “Conversations have certainly influenced ideas in the studio,” says Moore. “I enjoy the dynamics of this group, and the diversity of perspective and practice, and therefore continue to find it stimulating. I certainly did not have expectations that this would sustain, but as evidenced by our initial residency it was clear that we work well together.”
Studio exploration and material research was motivated by shared issues of investigation related to pattern, scale, science, and natural phenomena; work that not only further enhanced each individual’s vision, technical capability, and curiosity, but efforts and experiences that helped plant seeds in how they define collaboration.
“[The partnership has] given me a greater appreciation for the range of approaches to idea development and art-making, even within our little ‘glass world’,” reflects Cass.
“We had the rare opportunity to work in close proximity to each other outside of our various other roles (teacher, administrator, curator, etc…) and it was clear that we have pretty unique ways of being in the studio, gathering inspiration, developing ideas, experimenting with materials, and making work.” Cass continues by saying, “This kind of experience can open you up to considering alternate approaches in all of these parts of the creative process…perhaps changing the way you work.”
“We have established individual relationships with each person [in the group] and with a familiarity of what each person does and how they want to individually collaborate,” Pancari adds. “Collaboration of the making process is not necessarily easy. The Hauberg residency, which is based in the idea of collaboration, gave me the opportunity to exercise a different way to approach an idea, where I might not have complete control, which I find exciting.”
Aside from developing a stronger sense of camaraderie amongst the group, the Hauberg Fellowship culminated in two well-received exhibitions of the work/ideas that started during that residency. In late January of 2015, the group put on ‘Parallel Frequencies’ at the Cohen Gallery of Alfred University in Alfred, New York. In June of 2015, a
Amie McNeel investigating the natural world’s sequencing, layering, and progression within growth patterns; Rachel Moore continuing her examination of macro and micro through kiln cast works that engage history and memory within a specific community; Jackie Pancari engaging systems and science to examine natural phenomena inherently related to the material qualities of glass; Kait Rhoads altering the scale of patterns and connective matrices that exist in nature; Robin Cass exploring and reinterpreting a series of botanical forms while infusing new scientific and diagrammatic tools; and Norwood Viviano employing technology, architecture, and scale to further understand change in landscape and community over time.
When addressing what makes the collaborative nature and partnership of the group so beneficial through the Hauberg Fellowship, Vivano says, “Certainly the discourse has been invaluable. The encouragement as well. I believe there aren’t a lot of incentives for the mid career artists. This has been a way to find some common ground as well as discussion points.”
“Through this immersive residency, the continual opportunities for exhibiting, discussions, and panels, I think we’ve all identified the unique ways and degrees in which we contribute to each other’s growth,” reflects McNeel. “There’s always this negotiation of identifying and maintaining the intimate boundaries of self. The catalyst for collaborating is the possibility of surveying that territory with others.”
The timing of the 2016 GAS Conference will mark just about one year to the day of the opening of the group’s last exhibition at Traver Gallery…and the group will re-assemble as a unit to present “Creating Context: All Together Now”, the Conference “Careers in Art Panel” discussion on Saturday, June 11, 2016.
Moderated by the PIlchuck Glass School’s Artistic Director, Tina Aufiero, the panel will seek to host a conversation regarding each Fellow’s individual practice,a discussion of their collaborative efforts, craft/material engagement, personal and collective research strategies, and methods for evaluating and
“This panel is a culmination of practices and ideas presented and discussed after a variety of collaborations – in studio, as a panel, and through exhibitions,” says Moore. “It marks part of the collaboration that draws us together physically after working and thinking in our disparate practices. These moments define and mark the collaboration and as each of us seek communion or connection and dialogue after being absorbed in our own worlds – whether studio, academia, or museum.”
When asked about what kind of connections between what the group hopes to address in this Panel and the Conference theme of “Creating Context: Glass In A New Light”, a wide variety of thoughts from group members are revealed. “The idea of context and collaboration go together seamlessly,” says Viviano. “If it weren’t for the initial connection and the shared Alfred experience that five of the six of us had in common – I don’t think this opportunity would have coalesced. The spirit of collaboration and time at Pilchuck encouraged all of us to examine our previous accomplishments and experiences in a new way.”
“I think collaborating with other artists gets you to think and even create in ways that you might not have ever considered. It can be fresh thinking and very inspirational if you are open
to it,” adds Pancari. “So, in the simplest and direct way to think about “Creating Context: Glass in A New Light”, the best and the most exciting aspect for me is brain storming and going places creatively that you may have never thought about.”
Aside from opening new doors of artistic possibility, the collaborative component has also served a purpose for these artists on a more practical front; a sense of obligation to maintain balance between the various professional roles that
Don’t miss this very special opportunity to sit in on this conversation regarding the multi-faceted structure that professional artistic practice can entail. “Our ‘collaboration’ has allowed all of us to gain a new perspective on making/teaching/curating/selling/representation owing to our experience of coming together to create and share via conversation,” says Rhoads. “It is not easy for artists to ‘bare all’ around other artists, but all of us felt confident enough to share freely with one another.”
…and sharing is at the heart of what the GAS Conferences have always meant to do.
GAS members who will travel to Corning for the 2016 Conference are strongly encouraged to be on hand for the “Careers In Art Panel” featuring the dynamic members of the 2014 Hauberg Fellowship. There will be much perspective to give in “Creating Context; All Together Now” on these artists’ individual development, their evolving understanding of what artistic collaboration has been for them so far, where it could potentially go, and what it can possibly become.
David Schnuckel is an artist and educator, currently serving as Visiting Assistant Professor to the Glass Program of the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.