Spring Intern Exhibition: Pots/Prints/Paper/Trash

June 16, 2017 by

The aptly named spring intern exhibition, Pots/Prints/Paper/Trash, encapsulates the spirit of collaboration and social consciousness that defines Megan Borseth, Adreena Cook, C.R. Cooper, and Mel Doiron’s time at WSW.  As the first interns to show in the new building’s large front space, they challenged themselves to not just fill the walls, but also podiums and a light fixture, with their shared and individual voices.

A new alumna of the University of Northern Iowa, Megan Borseth started her studio internship having been an art therapy facilitator, print technician, and freelance designer through college. Coming straight from her undergraduate program, she says that being in our studios helped maintain her artistic momentum and learn to navigate a new workspace. Her time was focused in silkscreen studio, where she printed the WSW’s upcoming portfolio In Solidarity and assisted Tona Wilson in teaching the Art-in-Ed program.

For the exhibition, Megan continued her ongoing series of layered woodcuts and monoprints, The Marketing of Fear, addressing the commercialization of “women’s safety” and asking the simple question: why are these products pink? Her interest in social justice and material manifestations of patriarchal culture has led her to make large, confrontational images and question their connotations of femininity, security, and responsibility.

Studio intern Adreena Cook jumped into our studios the first few weeks of her six-month stay and, with Megan, led the pre-Women’s March poster-making workshop. After helping Judy Hoyt and Chris Petrone teach Art-in-Ed students intaglio, Adreena worked extensively in the papermaking studio to hone her production skills.

“You show up for work and there’s a studio that you can be in,” she says. “Having that every day for six months is not something that exists in the world.” Taking advantage of the time and space, she incorporated paper in her mixed media compositions. These consist of fine and found materials, including asphalt, joint compound, paper clay, expanding foam, and glitter. Drawing from philosopher Julia Kristeva’s treatise The Powers of Horror, Adreena looks for intersections of self and other, allure and repulsion, and the unintelligible and familiar in elevating alternative materials in her work.

C.R. Cooper’s days were spent learning about nonprofit administration, helping to organize WSW’s 20th Annual Chili Bowl Fiesta and the 10th Auction and Gala. An alumna of the University of Iowa, she arrived at the Workshop with a collection of discarded objects from the college town.

Using reclaimed litter, C.R. brings attention to the shared state of cognitive dissonance shrouded by today’s consumerist society. The mass daily accumulation of single-use objects—food containers, dryer sheets, and wristbands—and the collective agreement to forget them reappears throughout her work. She personifies objects by embroidering or screen printing dialogue fragments of rejection and abandonment.

C.R. also expanded her practice to include handmade paper, first learning how to use a deckle box from artist-in-residence Vanessa Adams. After pulling her own sheets, she turned pieces of litter into ghostly shells of themselves. 

Ceramics intern Mel Doiron took a semester off from NSCAD University to help us prepare for the Chili Bowl Fiesta. Both on and off the throwing wheel she made hundreds of pots, taking advantage of the upstairs silkscreen studio to decorate them (read more about that here). C.R. noted, “Everything I know about ceramics, I learned from Mel.”

Before she left, Mel handbuilt four large vessels, decorated one herself, and left one for each other intern as a collaboration. C.R. drilled sculptural holes in the raw clay, Megan chose handdrawn illustration and finished her pot with gold luster. Similar to her paper works, Adreena embellished a pot with joint compound.

After accomplishing so much during their internships, it’s no surprise that they already have new projects in the works. After assisting two book production residencies, Megan plans to dive deeper into the handmade book world. Until then, she’s figuring out how to make her own silkscreen studio in Iowa. Adreena will be at the Kansas City Zine Convention this fall, and C.R. may be there too!