A few months ago, after a presentation with the museum's docent group, I was interviewed by Jean Posusta, an author and docent at the Yellowstone Art Museum. I shared many stories about the trials and tribulations of learning how to make my private art-making process available to the public. Posusta's review is based on this interview along with her own experience as a participant in the Visible Vault . Below are a few passages I've selected to share with you --
An excerpt from I Sense I Was Invited, A Collective Review by Jean Posusta:
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec leaves me dumbstruck (Well, Salvador Dali takes me for a loop, too). I stare at his work longer than any other artist. For me, his rooms of objects and his people are not quite there, as if melting into the background, already a memory, a blending not quite distinct enough for me to put a name on a character. The motion and rhythm are there, the scene is there, the people are active; like 'What just happened?' or, ' What is about to happen?'
Robin Earles's art plays abstract remnants in my mind like these artists. Her work leaves me wanting to be invited into the scenes she has created. In an interview with Robin we talk about the importance of being a good hostess--inviting and encouraging the viewer to "come on in", explore and linger.
How an artist captures the essence of a human persona without a distinct face leaves me awestruck. Welcome to Robin Earles' work. Ms. Earles describes her work as starts, to the edge of more information, and she stops. I compare it to a good book you want to get back to, but lost. Would you title a piece before you begin? Is the audience part of the art process? Where does the communication begin between artist and viewer? One nourishes the other. One acknowledges the presence of the other. It is no wonder Robin chose, in the environment of public tours, to engage visitors as models. Both reaped rewards-- the invitation to express and that of being represented in the expression.
An Artist-in-Residence experience must add something to the artist's process that is not apparent in their home studio. To do art in public took some weeks of warm-up. Robin states at first, she couldn't get involved with visitors as there was no relationship--until she started to draw them. She attempted mirroring others, but she disclosed she, "couldn't get it out," although every 'model' felt complimented and extreme satisfaction with her surface portrayal. In her first three months at the YAM, Robin switched her proposed plan of action to doing people who were passing through the YAM studio. She became open to the experience of the YAM. Soon, she was sketching people on every napkin in restaurants, notebooks in meetings, and backs of worksheets. Give her a piece of your personality and it will be reflected. A docent named Mary, upon reviewing her own piece, could not have been more pleased, reverent and amazed with the work. Another person begged to purchase on the spot, the portrait piece. On occasion, Robin felt there was more to be done to the work and a personal tug to keep the piece 'until'. Robin found she was putting all of her YAM experience into here mind, and tossing it out with unexpected results. She smiles tho, and she reflects that it can feel lonely in the YAM studio knowing there are others about in the same building but she is working in her solitude. However, the supportive environment cannot help but lend hand to Earles' bestowed gift. Jean Posusta