Monday, January 17, 2011

in the paper!

Hi all! Our gallery changes were featured on the front page of the LaGrange Daily News last week. They did such a lovely job with the article, I thought I'd post it here. With our move progressing quickly, things are constantly happening I'd like to tell everyone about but just don't have time! More soon.

Studio gains new faces as artists bid farewell
By Trey Wood Staff writer LaGrange News

Robyn MIles / Daily News

Artists in Residence founding members Signe and Genna Grushovenko are preparing to leave LaGrange for new artistic ventures in Greenville, S.C. To their right are some new faces and some familiar ones who will be leading the art studio. From left are new members Sandy Cox and Dawn Douglas, longtime members Terri Codlin and Guthrie Killebrew, and new members Connie Wilkerson and Cora Waterhouse. Not present is longtime member Melinda Clair.

Founding members Genna and Signe Grushovenko are preparing to move to Greenville, S.C., where they will work from home as painter and potter, and collaborate together.

It was a tough decision. LaGrange is their home. It’s where they met, fell in love and married.

She is a LaGrange College graduate who made the community her home, and he has been a mainstay in the local art scene since fellow Artists in Residence founders found him working janitorial services at LaGrange Mall after moving to Georgia from Kiev, Ukraine.

It’ll certainly be a change in landscape.

“Friends of ours went with the most recent Milliken move to the Greenville area, and we are godparents to their kids and we’ve been friends for a really long time,” Signe Grushovenko said.

The couple didn’t think they had the ability to pick up their lives and move, but, “Here we are, I think it’s only three months later, and we’re on our way,” she said.

The love between Signe and Genna Grushovenko has been a collaboration of both art and life. The two come from completely different backgrounds – she from Michigan and he from Ukraine, but together they’ve helped shape a thriving art community built from pots and paints, mixed media and oil.

Now, 12 years later, they’re leaving that community as a thriving and living organism. They’ll take their art on the road, continuing their practice of participating in festivals all over the country while having studio space in their house.

“The big shift is that Signe has been here. She’s been with (Artists in Residence) for 12 years, but she’s really been the driving force in many ways in this whole co-op,” said Cora Waterhouse, now managing partner and painter at Artists in Residence. “I’m taking Signe’s place.”

Waterhouse and the new additions to Artists in Residence have big shoes to fill. Besides being heralded artists among indie scene followers for their collaboration oil paintings, the Grushovenkos are LaGrange mainstays. They’re teachers and artists. And Signe Grushovenko is co-director for the Visual Artists Alliance of LaGrange, another group of local artists.

“We’re going to have to shift around a good bit in the Visual Artists Alliance as well,” Waterhouse said. “We have done a lot of work over the last four years, and a lot of that’s been Signe, so it’s going to be tough – tough working without her.”

Waterhouse will be joining Melinda Clair, Terri Codlin and Guthrie Killebrew, along with new additions in Sandy Cox, Dawn Douglas and Connie Wilkerson.

A few of the new artists, including Waterhouse, are teachers at LaGrange Art Museum and will bring those classes to Artists in Residence, ushering in a host of new faces, along with utilizing the studio space for other ventures.

“The biggest shift is in people, and that’s a huge shift,” Waterhouse said.

Overall, Signe and Genna Grushovenko are leaving Artists in Residence as a well-oiled and well-maintained machine. Its wheels and gears will continue to turn, even without some of the founding members working in its hallways.

“The thing I’m most thankful for about this move is Artists in Residence is going to continue on without us,” Signe Grushovenko said. “This has just been such a great growth experience for me and my husband. We’re just really thrilled that we have four new people coming, and this place is still going to be healthy and happy when we go.”

Artists in Residence will give the couple a send-off with a farewell party from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in the studio at 300 S. Greenwood St. There also will be a reception for new members joining the AIR fold.

The occasion will be called Fresh AIR, signifying a breath of fresh air into the studio with a host of new artists calling the place home, and a breath of fresh air for two of the studio’s founding members.

“We’re leaving this place in good hands and ready to move forward and start something new, start something fresh,” Signe Grushovenko said.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

my most prized

I am in the process of packing up my studio, Genna's studio, and our house. We've been 12 years at our studio and 8 years in our home and it is SHOCKING what a person can accumulate in that amount of time. I've been particularly freaked out about the gallery...each time I think I've got a handle on it, I open a closet or cabinet door and SURPRISE!

I'm not here to complain, though. I love nearly all of my things and they are well worth the time and hassle it takes to properly pack them and carry them across state lines. What I want to tell you about today is how much great stuff I have!

We've been living in the middle of a construction site for most of the 8 years we've been in our house. Half of it is now lovely (restored hardwood floors, crown molding, high ceilings, period details) and the other half would still look at home in a cracky trailer park (cheap fake wood paneling, ancient oatmeal colored carpet, sway-backed dropped ceilings). Because we never finished this project, I've never properly displayed much of our art collection, accumulated through purchases, gifts, and trades since I started college in 1992. Packing it up I've been seeing it with fresh eyes and falling in love all over again.

I'm going to show you one thing very most prized possession...and then maybe a few more things from our collection later on. Here she is:

She is an untitled original watercolor on paper made by our good friend Keith Rasmussen in 1975, just a year after I was born. This piece hangs in our bedroom on the wall to my right as I lay looking out. It's like a master class in painting laying and studying it each morning.

When I met Keith, he was the director of the Chattahoochee Vallery Art Museum here in LaGrange. I was honored to have many opportunities to see him work over the 10 years or so that I knew him, and each time it was like absolute magic. I've seen him draw and paint and work on lithographic plates and never once saw him make a stray mark. He could look at his subject and render it seemingly effortlessly.

This particular composition is made up of a girl, two intricately detailed baskets, and a black bird (amongst other things). You know I have a thing about black birds, right? The bird brings an unexpected, allegorical flavor to the otherwise everyday scene.

You can see many more examples of Keith's work and read his story at Keith died of pancreatic cancer in 2006 but his lovely wife, my good friend Mary Ann Rasmussen, continues to represent him and his work. Take the time to check it out, I promise it will be well worth your time.

ps...Here it is in it's place!