New to Artemisia’s Second Floor Gallery is sculptural work from the talented Becky Grismer. Becky was born and raised in eastern South Dakota. She received her B.A. in Fine Art from Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD, in 2002. Becky has exhibited her work in both solo and group shows. Her work has been included in public collections and can be found in private collections throughout the United States. She currently resides in Spearfish, SD, working as a painter and sculptor.
Becky’s Artist Statement
Process: My process in making these sculptures begins by collecting materials. I spend time in the forest collecting pieces of tree bark from fallen trees and old stumps, and gathering pieces that have fallen on the ground at logging sites. Most of my tree bark is collected from Black Hills National Forest and nearby shelterbelts, although I sometimes have tree bark from certain types of trees shipped to me from other parts of the country. I collect many of the other natural materials I use in the head pieces from my garden.
I create the sculptures by piecing and gluing together hundreds of pieces of tree bark. I start at the bottom, making a base with some larger pieces, and work my way up. The sculptures are made entirely with tree bark and materials found in nature. I often use a thin gauged wire in the arms and across the shoulders, to add strength, especially in the figures where the arms are thinner and the hands/arms are away from the body. My process is additive and subtractive. I often carve the pieces before and/or after adding them and scrape lichens and growths from pieces of tree bark and re-apply them to specific places on the sculpture. After a sculpture is complete, I dip it into acrylic polyurethane to preserve its natural materials and to solidify its structure. I do this several times with each sculpture. Each work is original and is signed with my initials and the year it was made on the inside of its base.
Inspiration: My creative process begins by simply paying attention to what stands out to me in my everyday life. I see beauty both in the human figure and in the natural characteristics of the materials I use, and I try to integrate these forms of beauty in my art. If I am drawn to a certain shape or object, I know I am meant to further examine that object or shape by sketching it and considering my relationship to it as a human being. My art reflects what stands out to me in the world, which reflects my own personal, unique journey through life as a person and artist.
Concept: Conceptually, the tree bark figures I create are meant to represent the characteristics shared by trees and humans. The skin of the figure is created with the “skin” of a tree. Being classified into groups, naturally exfoliating our skin/bark, having roots and uprooting ourselves/being uprooted, hosting other living organisms, weeping, having limbs and being susceptible to diseases, are some of the common characteristics I address in this series of work. While gathering the materials, I am placed in an environment where I am forced to consider my relationship with the trees, which leads to the ideas in my pieces. I often use materials from specific types of trees with specific characteristics to communicate the various concepts.