Lost in Fiber | archives + preservation initiatives

2017 to 2018 | Shedding Light

Posted on: Thursday, December 21, 2017

Traces of an Imaginary Walk | Abigail Doan (2017)

Today, on the Winter Solstice, there is a transition both celestially as well as practically, regarding our outlook and vision for the days to come. In this spirit, I am sharing several highlights from the past year as I look ahead to an even more resolved understanding of the placement (role) of objects and materials in my creative practice.

This past year found me experimenting with new materials: clay, print, scent (essences), as well as revisiting fiber as more of a connective tool rather than a sculptural endpoint.

I was also fortunate to collaborate with creatives like Beau Rhee of Atelier de Geste, Brece Honeycutt of On a Colonial Farm, Elizabeth Hohimer of APYNB, Elizabeth Brunner of Piece x Piece, Janis Stemmerman of Russell Janisand Katrina Rodabaugh (during her residency at Instar Lodgeas well as examining my studio process more closely with a Succurro fellowship, An Artist Residency in Motherhood, and a Spring 2017 community gathering for environmental activism and movement practice at MoMA PS1.

Pioneer | Scent Exploration + Activism

Posted on: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PIONEER worktable documentation | photo: Abigail Doan, 2017

Project PIONEER, seasons 01 + 02, was conceived as a sensory-based tool to be used in conjunction with Walking Libraries 2016–2019. I commissioned Brooklyn-based studio, Atelier de Geste, to design a two part scent kit that might be utilized in both urban and open rural spaces to facilitate centeredness and navigational clarity in relation to environmental art strategies. 

I commissioned studio Atelier de Geste, to design a two part scent kit that could be utilized in both urban and open rural spaces as well as interior zones to help prompt a feeling of centeredness as well as clarity regarding environmental (art) activist strategies. PIONEER will be released during the late winter of 2018, paired with images from Walking Libraries and the atmospheric observations that surfaced.

The Longing for 'Environmental Togetherness'

Posted on: Wednesday, October 04, 2017

'Cure for Nostalgia 01' with a home remedy, black walnut, and field linen

It is officially autumn now. 

Autumn always makes me nostalgic, perhaps more so than spring or summer. It might be the waning atmospheric light or the poignant scents that are associated with a composting harvest on the now fallow fields of our own fecundity. Everything begins to feel more internalized and the land knows this, too.

Wetland vegetation near our former family farm in the Hudson Valley

With every passing season, I am making a practice of returning to the familiar plots and fence lines of my childhood farm in the Hudson Valley. We no longer own this land, but because I still long for its atmosphere and sustaining climate of layered memories, I continue to check in seasonally to survey any changes. 

The plantings and fence lines of childhood wanderings | Hudson Valley (2017)

My senses feel both deadened and heightened during these visits. Sometimes the links seem broken, and often one has to listen more intently to connect through the fog. Why is it that the entire world feels so different from last season? How quickly are the crops rotating? In what manner is the earth's rich soil continually revealing what we need to see but still cannot grasp?

Catskills | Summer Sanctuary

Posted on: Monday, August 07, 2017

The flowing Esopus Creek with Queen Anne's Lace in the Catskills Mountains

August is typically the quiet month. The one when folks either decide to go off-grid or when wanderlust travelers opt to share the beauty and nuances of every exquisite detail of their findings on the road.

I have been fortunate to spend the first portion of my August in the Catskill Park of New York State, not far from the farmland where I grew up and became sensitive to the atmospheric details of local seasons and the terrain of rural landscapes.

The porch at Cedar Grove | Thomas Cole Site in Catskill, New York,
a viewing portal to the mountains and Hudson River

Both the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley have a shared tradition of regional landscape painting, seasonal travel, as well as serene moments for deep reflection in nature. Every time I visit, I learn more about how attuned painters of the Hudson River School were to the specifics of botanical species as well as geological formations. It is always so inspirational to decode their layered drawings and paintings. 

Early morning at Scribner's Lodge, like gentle fog rolling through the mountains


Please enjoy more photos and discoveries from the Catskills, here.

Also of note, the arts/events programming at the Thomas Cole Site in Catskill, New York.

Follow my new Instagram as well for upcoming news and future travel.

In The Steps of Folly Cove | Exhibition Catalogue

Posted on: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Detail of a my 96" x 48" block print on linen panel | on view In The Steps of Folly Cove

I am pleased to announce that Russell Janis Gallery has recently published an exquisite catalogue featuring exhibition and working photos as well as an essay by Elena Sarni on the critical context of the project, In The Steps of Folly Cove – Artist Print Invitational

Installation of printed artist panels at Russell Janis in Brooklyn

Artist, printmaker, and project curator, Janis Stemmermann, did a remarkable job of reviving the Folly Cove collaborative design spirit with her outreach to contemporary artists who may or may not have extensive printmaking experience. The range of linoleum block print design and hand-carving approaches was quite diverse, and reflective of both craft, pattern, and personal investigations.

Alignment and Shepherding | Summer 2017

Posted on: Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Traditional Bulgarian Shepherd's Bell suspended on linen fiber | 2017

Summer is often viewed as the slow time, a time when the elements remind us to reframe our daily movements, let go of ingrained patterns, and possibly examine how one might realign objects and materials in one's immediate environs. My own summer has thus far been focused on identifying new ways to create improved flow between my art practice and my home life, with specific emphasis on generating work that makes more sense in relation to the complexity and choreography of daily activity.

The Artist Residency in Motherhood (ARIM) project that I participated in from May 1 to July 1, 2017 was instrumental in helping me to think more holistically about life as an artist who does not always adhere to conventional studio methods or platforms for sharing.

Walking Libraries 2017 | materials on my home work table

I do not report to a studio every day; I do not (by parental choice) have the predictability of a set schedule; I often do not have the free time or perhaps the professional discipline to create what I feel is most essential to advancing my current body of work. Alternatively, I use walking as a way to connect self with space. I study the atmosphere and also feel motivated to action by environmental concerns. I am a surveyor and administrator of relative, mothering phenomena.

Because of this, I recently became pre-occupied with the word alignment, as I feel that it is the most helpful term for me when it seems as if my actions or intentions are simply not falling in place. When researching the word's meaning, I came across several definitions that made perfect sense to me. 
  • arrangement in a straight line, or in correct or appropriate relative positions
  • a position of agreement or alliance
Which brought me back to ideas and imagery that I have formerly created regarding the shepherding of bodies and/or materials across space. I honestly feel that I have become more of a shepherd than an artist these days, both conceptually and practically. I am guiding my own children, myself and others each day, while also searching for better ways to move ideas and materials over increasingly fragile or unpredictable terrain. 

We are all on the move it seems, no matter how much we try to slow down or adhere to a sensible program. Is there a way, though, where we might better shepherd each other or tend to shared terrain in ways that do not restrict movement or create limitations on how we creatively forage, if we even have that luxury to begin with?

Folly Cove Artist Print Invitational | Russell Janis

Posted on: Sunday, June 11, 2017

test print panel on the studio wall at Russell Janis in Brooklyn

I am thrilled to announce news of the upcoming exhibition and invitational print project, In The Steps of Folly Cove, organized by Russell Janis gallery and studio in Brooklyn, NY. My repeat print botanical design is based on an early scientific drawing by Ernst Haeckel, a German biologist, naturalist, and philosopher. I had not done any carving on linoleum block since junior high school, so my goal was to reintroduce myself to this process but in the spirit of a contemporary sketch and not a precise illustration of the plant form.

Block printing on Belgian linen double panel at Russell Janis studio

Janis Stemmermann of Russell Janis: "The Folly Cove Designers were an art and design collective that operated from 1939 to 1968 in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. I came across their archive when visiting the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts. As a collaborative printmaker, I was intrigued by how their simple format of carving and printing single color linoleum block prints brought together a community of artists and craftspeople that sustained them for so many years. I was very excited by this discovery and decided to invite a diverse group of creative practitioners from my own community to use the same approach at Russell Janis studio."

Block printed panels coming off the press at Russell Janis studio

To learn more about the unique prints created by participating artists – using the same approach as the historic Folly Cove Collective, follow this link to the project's campaign. 

Participating artists/printmakers include Peter Bregoli, Jean-Jacques Du Plessis, Louise Eastman, Jonathan Fabricant, Elise Ferguson, Susan Martin, Joe Peppe, Mylene Pionilla, Wendy Small, Barb Smith, Russell Steinert, Janis Stemmermann, Andy Yoder, and Abigail Doan.

Print and Pattern Artist Invitational

June 17 - July 30, 2017
opening from 6 to 9pm

292 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
(Graham Avenue, L Stop)

Russell Janis | Instagram

#CorrespondenceCourse | Tremaine Gallery

Posted on: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

detail of #CorrespondenceCourse vitrine installation at the Tremaine Gallery

I am pleased to share news that #Correspondence Course (2015 - 2017) is currently on view in Becoming: 30 Hotchkiss Artists at the Tremaine Gallery in Lakeville, Connecticut.

#CorrespondenceCourse (#CC) is a collaborative, materials exchange project between artist Brece Honeycutt and myself. Our artistic correspondence has featured mailings back and forth between our homes in the Berkshires and New York City (as well as to and from Sofia, Bulgaria, during the summer of 2016). 

#CC materials have included handmade postcards, stitched stationary, gathered finds from rural and urban walks, historic sewing patterns, hand-drawn charts, botanically dyed and pleated paper, as well as other modern ephemera.

This collaboration between Brece and I is continuous and ongoing and serves as an examination of modern and historic connections in our daily lives. 

Continue after the page break, for exhibition details and more photos.

A Day of Activism + Movement | MoMA PS1

Posted on: Friday, April 28, 2017

Sustainable Bodies | workshop materials at MoMA PS1
(contributors: Abigail Doan, Atelier de Geste, and XCRT Lab)

It was an honor to recently present work in 'A Day of Movementat MoMA PS1 as a visiting artist/guest of Atelier de Geste. AdG's director and choreographer, Beau Rhee, created the event's Sustainable Bodies workshop as a way to examine ecological solutions and activist steps – with movement as a basis for environmental connection and sensory awareness. I presented materials and notes from my Walking Libraries project as well as participating in an interactive performance that evolved in the gallery space.

The Day of Movement line up was in conjunction with For Freedoms' month-long residency in the museum's designated gallery space and sharing lab zone.

Ideas that circulated during the Sustainable Bodies workshop included the following:

– waste reduction as a local act, with ripple effects from the home to the ecological fabric and soil of the community.

– materials and research that examines bioremediation, water conservation and recycling via the implementation of low-tech solutions that are both affordable and impactful.

– visual tools that serve as ecological aids on a daily basis. this includes personal kits (as demonstrated by Walking Libraries), where gathered finds are archived and referenced as atmospheric awareness prompts. think also, environmental immersion and drifting as a way of surveying for solutions.

– movement (first) as a connection to place, old/new terrain, and inner/outer reactions; objects (second) as documentation or manifestation of the former.

Learn more about Atelier de Geste's studio practice here. Also not to be missed, XCRT Lab by Nancy Kim. Here's to even more synergy between (ecological) design, the movement arts, and time for closer (deeper) observation.

Walking Libraries | Archiving 2016 to 2017

Posted on: Thursday, February 23, 2017

Walking Libraries | February 2017 | NYC

I am thrilled to announce that I will be participating in an Artist Residency in Motherhood (ARIM) as of March 1, 2017. ARIM is the open source residency project of artist, Lenka Clayton.

For a two month period, I will continue to work on archiving images and materials from my Walking Libraries (WL) project initiated in 2016. The original vision for WL was the following:

"This art initiative will involve my archiving of the granular aspects of landscape exploration and tactile finds out on the trail. My goal is to incorporate more movement into my work as means to further explore personal mapping concepts as well as fluidity between materials and documentation methods." (March 2016)

Since then I have walked numerous trails and the open terrain of the Hudson Valley, coastal northern California, off the beaten pathways in Bulgaria, as well as urban NYC. ARIM will be a framework for me to better archive materials gathered to date while also reflecting on how I identify textural details in the landscape as a parent, mother, and environmental artist focused on preserving and protecting the natural world.

Walking Libraries | May 2016 | Pescadero, California

In addition to an updated library of images, I hope to edit materials for printing small volumes and editions that I will pass on to my own children and others as a record for addressing the need to see more, examine more, and connect more.

Learn more about the materials for ARIM's residency kit here.

Marisa Merz | The Sky Is A Great Space

Posted on: Saturday, February 04, 2017

A selection of images from 'Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space' at The Met Breuer.

All photo by Abigail Doan | January to February 2017.

The Noguchi Museum | Winter 2017

Posted on: Monday, January 09, 2017

Select quotes by Isamu Noguchi:

It is weight that gives meaning to weightlessness.

The attractions of ceramics lie partly in its contradictions. It is both difficult and easy, with an element beyond our control. It is both extremely fragile and durable. Like 'Sumi' ink painting, it does not lend itself to erasures and indecision. 

When the time came for me to work with larger spaces, I conceived them as gardens, not as sites with objects but as relationships to a whole.

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