…artist and viewer revealed through film
An artist’s goal is to try to capture a moment in the busy world in order to share an emotion with the audience. Professor in Art and Art History Kris Lowe has spent the last one and a half years creating the documentary, Painting the Place Between, and features four artists: Betsey Byers, Jil Evans, Andrew Wykes and Holly Swift as they work on their paintings. The goal of the film is to have artists connect to a general audience.
“The thing that we all have in common is the land. So much of the public loves art but they are not allowed in. I am trying to make art more universal so everyone can enjoy it,” Lowe said.
Connecting people to the Minnesota landscape is the theme among the artists as the documentary follows them through the steps of painting a scene from their surroundings.
“I think that this film will show how we are interested in investigating questions of the world. If you are committed to study and research you can produce something extraordinary with the world,” Professor in Art and Art History Betsy Byers said.
Seeing the thought process behind a finished piece is what drove Lowe to choose to focus the documentary on a person in the environment. The featured artists are interviewed close up and also shown working in the setting that they are painting.
“I hope it will take away the stereotype that artists are not real humans. We train very hard for years, but anyone can create something if they commit to it. I just want people to see the process so they can appreciate the work that is done,” Lowe said.
Sam Hemmerich (‘12) had the opportunity to work with one of the featured artists, Holly Swift as well as Professor Lowe.
“I worked specifically with Holly’s portion because Kris knew that Holly’s thoughts and techniques would give me insight and knowledge into my own work. Being able to work with Kris has been helpful because she helps guide rather than direct and that has been helpful as an artist. A large portion of art-making is in the discovery of your own ideas and sharing them with surrounding artists rather than objectifying the process,” Hemmerich said.
One of the questions that Lowe aimed to answer was why an audience still wants to look at paintings. Art has been in our culture for centuries and understanding that something hundreds of years old is valued because of its power to evoke feelings in a wide variety of people opened the door to celebrate what beauty is around us.
“We have an emotional life that is tied to the calendar. We are forced by nature to feel things and it links us all together,” Lowe said.
A portion of the documentary was aired on Minnesota Original TPT as a preview for the piece. The film is ninety percent complete and is down to the microfinancing stage where people can help contribute to the project using The USA Projects Campaign. An exhibition of the artists’ pieces will be on display starting Nov. 16, 2012 at the Minnesota Museum of American Art.