CMA Stories

Artist Lisa Marie Ludwig reflects on In Practice: Works in Progress

For In Practice: Works in Progress, the east end of our gallery was decked out in cardboard building facades and construction walls created by artist Lisa Marie Ludwig. Over the course of the exhibition, children joined Lisa to create relief sculptures of facades of recently torn down buildings, as a way to remember and document the city’s transforming neighborhoods.

We asked Lisa to reflect on her time as an artist in residence at CMA, and here are her thoughts:

1. How did your studio in the gallery evolve over the course of the exhibition? 

My studio desk was set up in the center of my art installation. On the east wall of the gallery I had cardboard refuse tacked to the wall expanding  about 8ft x 4ft. Throughout the duration of the show I would take pieces of the cardboard off the wall and work at my desk turning the scraps into relief sculptures of the facades from my neighborhood, those have been recently torn down. Finally at the end of the show, the east wall was filled with 16 mounted facades. I wanted to have change happening continually in my installation, to mirror the constant change happening in my community.

2. What was your favorite part about interacting with the public?

With studio practice, I am alone a large amount of time creating work. Making art  and interacting with the public was a joyful experience. I had the opportunity to talk about my process during the actual process. Also visitors created facades with me. I felt a fellowship among the visitors as they related to my work, and my concepts. Visitors from all over the world sat with me, conversing about their community and changes occurring in the physical environment of their architectural landscapes. Total strangers being so open made me really feel a oneness with our world community.

3. Was there anything that surprised you about the process?

I found the staff of CMA to be helpful, supportive, and inspirational throughout the exhibition’s duration. Having the opportunity to take spontaneous ideas to fruition, especially when dealing with many moving parts, can sometimes be daunting. In this case, I was able to have state of the art equipment and resources available to me through the museum. I wanted to create a visitor collaborative of a stop-motion, pixelation animation. The staff equipped me with iPads, software, laptops and cameras. Different departments collaborated as well: the sound booth recorded visitors talking about their neighborhoods, the art studio rotated visitors to paint on their facades, and the animation department created pixilations of visitors wearing facade masks which I created. All together, the experience was amazing.

4. Did this experience teach you anything about your own artistic practice?

The children who visited with me and created facades at my studio desk, reminded me that the art is the process. I saw the transformation of a child as the creative process took hold: when time is irrelevant, thoughts have disappeared, and through creating one is experiencing the moment- just being in the moment. It was a welcomed reminder.

5. Do you have a favorite memory of making art as a child?

I was a very creative child. I am always reminded by my family, of making things out of cardboard, such as a movable car or a working piano.  But one experience that blew my mind as a child was when I was in 2nd grade, a couple visited our class from “The Safari”. They were dressed like anthropologists, and had musical instruments, artifacts, and art from their travels.

I later found out, they had not been anthropologist, etc… but were “performance artists”. This was how they expressed themselves.  I was so excited about the prospects of this expression, that at that moment I felt like anything was possible, and I could be anything I wanted to be.

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