Other Investigations: Ann Gaziano

Ann Gaziano is a Chicago-based artist – born in Chicago, IL and grew up in Santa Fe, NM. In 2005, she graduated from the College of Santa Fe with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture and went on to receive her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 2010. Her work was most recently presented in a solo exhibition at Generator in Albuquerque NM. She has been part of numerous group exhibitions including Into the Woods at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, representation by Launch Projects at Art Santa Fe, 2009 and Hair of The Dog at The Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has also participated in residencies at the Vermont Studio center, I-Park, and ACRE. She now lives and works in Chicago.

Ann makes sculptures, installations, and drawings that use cultural constructs and signifiers to explore the emotional experience of materials and objects through the lens of spiritualism, minimalism, and modernist design of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. This Fall, Ann and her husband moved into a storefront space with an attached studio in Pilsen, where she set up her studio. In her studio, you’ll find her mother’s four harness loom, sent to her from New Mexico. Ann investigated the weaving process while at ACRE this summer and is excited to investigate how it will influence her sculptures and drawings.

“I am fascinated by the way historical, intellectual, and aesthetic movements are reused and transformed by contemporary culture. Through my observations and research I collect materials and concepts and mix them together. Ultimately portraying exaggerated caricatures that create an experience based in kitsch and personal sentimentality.”

We hung out with Ann at ACRE and talked to her about her sculptural experiments and her fascination with pattern. We decided to expand our introductory feature for the ACRE artists we conducted studio visits with and ask additional questions about what they are working on, their process, and their experience at ACRE. You can read about our visit here – Part 1 & Part 2.

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What processes and concepts are you exploring in your current body of work?

“The presence of the body has always been referenced in my work, and recently I have become interested in implicating the body more directly. I am always interested in working with the relationship between the body, furniture, domestic and interior design. For a while now I have been investigating how pattern and design presented on a larger and exaggerated scale, to match human scale, along with emotion or physical experience can intersect. This is coming out in the form of pattern and abstraction, both in 3D and 2D.”

What projects are you currently working on?

“I am working on a project that has a few different aspects but ultimately revolve around the idea of pattern. This includes structures like the interactive “Pattern Grids” which most importantly can exist outside of the studio and gallery. I am also working on creating a related wall-based installation comprised of a series of specifically placed objects, which will be supported and propped up in various angles with other objects. As the viewer steps back an overall pattern like polka-dots is revealed. Also keeping within the structure of my current studio practice I am working on a series of drawings.”

“In 2009, I created an important sculpture linking experience to an abstracted form or diagram titled “Energy Funnel”. This work was the beginning of a series that investigated historical, contemporary, and alternative spiritually based objects and symbolism. This sculpture conflates this visual language of spiritual objects with familiar objects. As a whole, the structure takes the form of a diagram in which invisible energy travels between a trampoline, a deconstructed trampoline and is transformed into a god’s eye. Instead of lines on paper, I have used steel, string, and wooden blocks to map the connections and relationships between each part. The visual and formal constructs of spiritualism are used to harness the power of the mind. I use this power to compress and converge objects and to shift their function and the physical experience of them. The way the body deals with feeling, emotion and memory is shifted and becomes a physical experience of objects rather than one based in intellect.”

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What kinds of things do you research and how is that important to your practice?

“This is a critical aspect, and to me sometimes the most important. I thought you would be excited to read, although written a while ago, my Graduate thesis. This writing is still very pertinent to my current and ongoing practice. In its structure (a faux interview with myself) and content it explores how my process of gathering resources, such as places/locations, books, museums, other artists and designers work gets filtered into the objects and works I create.”

How was your experience at ACRE and what was the most valuable aspect of this residency?

“I had a great and very productive time at ACRE. I was able to make a sculpture and work on learning how to weaving. For me, the most valuable thing I experienced at ACRE was the ability for me to focus on myself, and my art making process. I have been telling people that it is the best thing I have done for myself all year. My studio practice has been quite on and off over that last 2 years, so I am very happy that ACRE allowed me to refocus and I am now ready to fill my new studio. I had the opportunity to talk to some amazing artists and curators about my work and studio practice. Most notably artist Charles Roderick, Stephanie Syjuco, Comfort Station, and of course, Make Space.”