I am incredibly attracted to be able to have the time and brain space to think, make and be. - A.H.
Alex Hanson is a sculptor who specializes in place-based land art installations which requires the physical places to work outside of his day to day life as a faculty inside the academic world. Alex spent the month of May 2021 in his residency along with his artist partner, Ryna, and their cute dog, Millie. We are honored that this was Alex's ninth residency and that his presence here lead to a dynamic installation that embraces the sense of wonder and the act of wandering.
It takes a while to decompress from one's routine and Alex mentioned in his application that he's trying to get away from answering work emails at 1am. The disconnect to reconnect goal was most definitely embraced during his time including the social evenings playing cards with the rest of the residency participants. It also takes a while for a spontaneous project inspired by the land to germinate. A little over four weeks was just enough time for his work to come to fruition.
As an introduction to the land, a complimentary Forest Therapy walk is schedule when possible as close to an arrival to allow for one to see the land in new ways. It's likely this helped the decompression from an intense academic year in the midst of pandemic. Alex, Ryna, and Millie ventured on the land to the river on an almost daily basis. However, it wasn't until Val showed Alex a little bit more of the land from the main trails did it possibly click on the project possibilities.
As creative flow will happen, Alex was experimenting with a bamboo structure as possibly the material to use for his installation. But then he saw old wood that was removed from the studio to make a new cement floor and possibly had his a-ha moment. In conscientious making and thinking about materials and impact on the environment, utilizing old wood to give it new life in his project was most definitely welcome and encouraged.
Alex also spent his time wood carving small creatures which is another ongoing project that he has started. He mentioned that the smaller scale of his work started during the covid lockdown when he had to leave his on campus studio and work in a smaller apartment. His small carvings were statements in their own right about the state of the world and ecology with animals going extinct.
There will be a full interview posted with Val and Alex talking about his work. However, it is interesting to note that this project was his first that was exclusively type based. Val as a graphic designer and keen enthusiast in upcycling of course was totally in support of the fun concept. Without giving too much away of the work because it really is about mystery and circumstance, there are a few images of the work in progress and a snippet of the final install. The vision of creating a 12 acre complex where artists can play, dream, explore and leave something behind for the public, campground/retreat guests, and future artists is most definitely kick-started by Alex's contribution.
Alex found himself at home in the studio space, which is available for to work with power tools and larger messier items, as well as the picnic table and the back deck of the Raspberry Residency house. As time is so flexible and organic at the camp, it felt like much longer than a month to have Alex, Ryna, and Millie around, but too soon for them to depart to get to their gallery show installation commitments back home.
Check out Alex's website for more of his unique work. What would you create?
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