The Rapidian

Artists Amanda Wieczorek and Taylor Cole Greenfield to host "Open Studio"

Local Artist says ‘farewell’ to Grand Rapids by hosting Open Studio.
Artists Amanda Wieczorek and Taylor Cole Greenfield

Artists Amanda Wieczorek and Taylor Cole Greenfield /A.R. Wieczorek

Open Studio

Studio at 401 Hall, SW, Suite 313

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 to 10 p.m.


View the Artists' Work Online

Taylor Cole Greenfield

Amanda Wieczorek




"Bluegill" from Ancient Lake by Taylor Cole Greenfield

"Bluegill" from Ancient Lake by Taylor Cole Greenfield /T.C. Greenfield

"Sojourn" by Amanda Wieczorek

"Sojourn" by Amanda Wieczorek /A.R. Wieczorek

It is a rare opportunity to get a glimpse “behind the curtain” into an artist's studio. Most art is shown in galleries with little opportunity to see the inner workings and space of the creative process. However, like the annual open studio events at the Tanglefoot Building and the LA Museum of Contemporary Art web series “Artists Talk with Alia Shawkat and Lance Bangs” in which artists are interviewed inside their studios; obviously there is an appetite on the part of the public to see the 'wizardry' of the artist. 

On Friday, July 26, 2013 Amanda Wieczorek and Taylor Cole Greenfield will be hosting an Open Studio at 401 Hall Street SW, Suite 313. The two local artists are inviting the public into the place “to ignite conversation and the work and local artists in Grand Rapids.”

Wieczorek will be presenting seven large-scale paintings (7’6” x 6’6”) and local art book printing house, Issue Press will be producing a small Risograph book titled “When It Happened” that will be launched the night of the opening. Greenfield will be displaying drawings from her new series entitled “Ancient Lake.”

“This is a great opportunity for the public to see a working artist studio and the work that has been made in the past several months. This is also the last local show Wieczorek will be involved in as she is moving on to London, England to pursue a Masters in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art,” according to a press release made available by the artists. 

The two artists met while both were event coordinators for Jenn Schaub of the Avenue for the Arts Artists Market. The two immediately struck up a friendship and Wieczorek approached Greenfield about sharing a studio. The decision has been fruitful for both as they have were confronted with the vulnerability of having to open up their creative process to another person. A process that can be highly personal and so trust in each other was the key to it working. Greenfield and Wieczorek's artistic styles seem at opposites, with Greenfield’s bold, vibrant colors and otherworldly animals juxtaposed with Wieczorek’s precise geometric shapes and abstract lunar landscape-like textures. Despite the differences in their art, Wieczorek claims that “spiritual lines” run between their work.

Across the Sea

Wieczorek’s journey to the Royal College of Art in London began in 2010 when she visited Kingston while studying abroad. It was in Kingston where she made connections with some faculty members and was encouraged to apply. Upon returning from Europe where she made a series of etching prints entitled “Sojourn.” After that series of prints was completed Wieczorek had the inspiration to make large scale paintings based on her prints.

“I wanted to see how my smaller prints would translate into larger paintings,” she says.

Anyone familiar with Wieczorek’s work will note that her pieces have always contain an element of duality to them. From the geometric precision of the circles, squares and rectangles that characterize her work to the seemingly chaotic randomness of the images gained from the etching process, she has created an artistic and visual voice that is distinctly her own. She describes this process as a Micro/Macro dichotomy.

“The act of making the pieces is micro, while viewing them as a whole is the macro,” she explains. 

“Printmaking changed my life,” Wieczorek says with the conviction and confidence of someone who has found what they truly love to do. This is tempered by a characteristic gratitude and humility.

“I feel so very lucky and privileged to be able to do something like this,” she says when speaking of the opportunity to study overseas and to make art in general.

Wieczorek says her new work hints at a new direction. Her goals for graduate school include expanding her artistic voice and to “try to take etching into the "3rd Dimension.” She is also looking forward to exploring the symbolic themes and relationships that categorize her work more deeply. Wiezcorek has a notebook full of ideas that would rival most artists finished work. Death is something she contemplates, however she doesn’t see it as something to fear rather she finds a deeper connection joy of living by accepting the inevitable end of life.

“I believe death is a passing into another world. Death is not a morbid thing. It’s inevitable. I’m actually a happier person when I allow myself to think about these things,” she says laughing.

While doing research for her projects, Wieczorek is the searcher, delving into different cultures and drawing inspiration from diverse and mystical thematic sources such as Tantra and the Tibetan Book of the Dead. She mentions having a deep respect for Japanese culture and the emphasis that it places on the role of elders in the culture and the wisdom they have to impart. It’s easy to see why Wieczorek feels this way when she begins to speak about her family.

Growing up the east side of the state, Wieczorek’s grandmother Sophia was the first person who she made art with, drawing pictures with crayons and pencils. Her grandmother, an immigrant from Poland, encouraged the young fledgling artist to create freely. Wieczorek has an equal adoration for her parents whom she says she “owes everything to” and is very proud of her Polish/Catholic heritage as well as the values of hard work and dedication to craft her parents instilled in her.

In high school Wieczorek “didn’t think art was possible” when considering future careers, but her views soon changed as she applied to Grand Valley State University in hopes of becoming an art teacher. On the very last possible, she submitted a portfolio and was subsequently accepted. She began taking printmaking and soon had the revelation that she belonged.

“For the first time in my life, I understood the materials and they understood me,” she says.  She immediately changed her major to printmaking. She fell in love with Monoprint and the exclusive and unique nature as the image can only be produced once.

Like her grandmother and parents, Wieczorek has a significant amount of gratitude toward her professors at GVSU. She mentions professors Steven Sorman, Dellas Henke and David Keister as having a particularly profound influence on her and is grateful for the direction and guidance they offered her.

“I am so lucky to have studied with them,” she says.

“Fate , things just happen”

Wieczorek feels that fate has played a role her in evolution as an artist. From barely submitting her portfolio to GVSU in the nick of time, to her pending move to England, she feels she is on the right path and especially feels grateful for the time working alongside Greenfield. Greenfield agrees and speaks about the importance of a nurturing community in helping an artist evolve.

 “I love making art in a community setting- it's the printmaker in me. The kind of energy generated by communal creative spaces is so important to the way I work, seeing not only my own drawings evolve, but also Amanda's work. Each time I come to the studio, new ideas are on the walls inviting me to add my own. It is both motivating and inspiring to see how others make the things they make,” Greenfield says.

While the Open Studio may be somewhat bittersweet as it marks the end of the studio partnership for the two artists, Greenfield reflects on their communal studio in the same Micro/Macro way that Wieczorek describes her work:

“We both started our friendship as event coordinators for the Avenue for the Arts, when I was finishing up my MFA at Kendall and she was finishing her BFA at GVSU. Our passion for the arts community was a natural segue way into creating a little community of our own,” Greenfield says.

Open Studio offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to view new work and the creative environment of two of Grand Rapids most thought provoking and thoughtful artists.


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