The Soliloquy Project | Jennifer Bedenbaugh

The Soliloquy Project came into focus over a year ago, after a dark period in my life. I was struggling in every way, not the least of which was a complete lack of creative energy, with no end in sight. To force myself back into the studio, I took a two-week immersive class in metalsmithing at Penland School of Craft, followed by a month-long winter residency, which was, in effect, life-changing. During that residency I began the work that now succeeds a show I completed in 2016 called House:Self. In that show, I explored the use of the house as an allegorical symbol for the human condition; an expression of common shared beliefs or misconceptions.

 

The Soliloquy Project is an expansion of that work, but far more personal; in this collection I delve further into how the symbol of the house can communicate complex and hidden patterns I discovered within myself over this most difficult time… some destructive, some productive, all beneficial to growth. Parallel to the sculptural work I’d begun, I challenged myself to make a thing a day, maybe for a month so. Secretly I wanted to go 365 days, but I’d never taken on such a commitment, and I was not all that confident I would follow through. I announced my intentions on Instagram as a way to keep myself accountable. I had no idea how beneficial it would be, and just how much I would learn about the artist within me. Every day I would sit in front of a 6x6” flat panel, and make art. The restrictions I placed on myself turned out to be the secret to sticking with it for an entire year. The “rules” were as follows: 1. make one every day without exception, 2. always use the same 6x6” flat format, 3. do not plan the composition in advance, 4. most importantly, DO NOT evaluate the finished piece for artistic merit, and then 5. post it on Instagram. This exercise in play and intuition was one of the most rewarding accomplishments I’ve ever completed as an artist. Many, many times I did not want to make that panel. 365 panels later I had a tremendous body of work, but I also the invaluable belief that I fully belonged in this pursuit of art-making, and needed the work more than it needed me.

 

My process is somewhat erratic, as I do not limit myself to one particular medium. I am a master of none, and in large part, self-taught. This allows me the freedom to break all the rules. I use everything from clay to wire, paint to paper, and my favorite … found or discarded objects. I love nothing more than elevating an ordinary object by giving it an integral role in my work. This speaks to renewal, redemption, and the tenacity to carry on after all is thought lost.

 

Works from this new collection will be released through Art & Light Tuesday, November 3rd online and in the gallery beginning at 10am EST. We will also host a virtual, live Q&A with Bedenbaugh Monday, November 2nd at 7pm EST via Instagram LIVE HERE. Please join us in our new courtyard for our first First Friday Event since Covid-19 on Friday, November 6th from 6-8pm for a celebratory drink. Masks will be required in the gallery and will be provided if needed.

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