May 22nd, 2012

We are fortunate to have a fantastic Artist in Residency program right here in Park City. Every year, the Spiro Art Center juries in a group of artists, who schlep their art materials and uber-creative selves all the way to our mountain town to revel in the inspiration that is Park City. I’ve found that artists are often pulled in many directions– where to show? with whom to meet? what project to begin now? why can’t I find inspiration? can I afford the rent?

The space, time, (miniscule) stipend and room/board provided by Spiro allow the artists a time to focus: such a precious gift.

I attended an end-of-session open house for the Summer I term’s residents and was quite pleasantly surprised with the quality of work. Below, a description of the artists and a few photos of their finished pieces.

Paolo Fortin’s paintings focus on the arbitrary absorption of images in our daily lives. Often working with oil on canvas and paper, Fortin has also embraced adhesive vinyl, wool duffle and western arctic sewing techniques to address the constant flux of images and transitory moments experienced during travel.  Recent projects were an outcome of his visits to Berlin, Norway, Iceland, Japan and the Caribbean. Fortin typically creates work based on inspiration from a different location than where he is staying. But Park City was just too magnetic and Fortin found himself painting skiers, mountainsides, and chairlift lovers.

Sonja Hinrichsen examines urban and natural environments through exploration and research. She is interested in the intersection between place and human perception thereof, throughout history. Her work manifests in immersive video installations and interventions in nature. Sonja graduated from the Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany and received an MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001. Sonja has won numerous artist residency awards, such as the Bemis Center in Omaha, Djerassi in California, Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, Valparaiso in Spain and the Taipei Artist Village in Taiwan. Hinrichsen painstakingly painted India ink works on paper– Mandala-like meditations that appear to be organic structures, snowflakes, or night skies.

Meghan Wilbar was born in Colorado, lived in NYC for ten years, and is just about to move to Denver, CO.   She received  an MFA from the New York Studio School and her BA from Knox College, IL in Studio Art with a minor in French. In the fall of 2010, she was an artist in the Bronx Museum, Artist in the Marketplace program (AIM 30)  Her exhibited work at the Bronx Museum Biennial was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal.  Her interest in man-made landscapes  and rock formations led her to a vibrant collection of abstracted landscapes. I was very much interested in Wilbar’s works, and I made a few gallery recommendations for her in Colorado.

Adam Stumacher, the resident writer, has had his fiction appear in Granta, Best New American Voices, TriQuarterly, The Massachusetts Review, The Sun, and elsewhere, and won the Raymond Carver Short Story Award. He holds degrees from Cornell University and Saint Mary’s College, and he was the Carol Houck Smith fiction fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. While at Spiro Arts, he worked on his novel-in-progress, A Liar’s Opus. Those in attendance were able to enjoy a reading from this author. I’m looking forward to reading the completed book.