Angela Meron is a designer and visual artist, born and raised in Iowa. Her personal practice as a visual artist began in 2004, while at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA. In 2010, at Vermont College of Fine Arts, she completed her MFA in Visual Art with an emphasis in Sound, Video and Installation. She is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at NMHU. Her show, What We Keep: Re-Writing History, will be up at 2 Ten: A Galeria of Art & Treasures through March.
ORP: Talk about the journey that led to the creation of this exhibit.
Angela: This is a body of work that began over ten years ago and was abandoned in my studio for various reasons. With a move across the country and subsequent unpacking, I was literally staring at my past. Working with stored finished canvases as substrate, the saved objects from years of collecting in the studio, still addressing those earlier works – is a process not unlike starting a life over. It has provided opportunity to rewrite history. I am intrigued by the things we keep – both the tangible things we drag from room to room, office to office, house to house – and from a past life into a new life.
ORP: You are a visual artist and photographer. Aside from equipment and supplies, how is one different from the other?
Angela: Processes can be similar, but each has a different motivation. In my art-making I am interested in conversations between objects, found things, paint, and materials. The materials themselves are interesting because of their shape and the ways I see them interacting. This translates to photography in the case of the Line, Align, Realign images but generally I don’t see a distinct parallel between the assemblages and photography. As a designer, I find I follow some of the same processes, but that work is often driven by other people’s choices and requests and not my own investigations.
ORP: In what ways does each feed your creative spirit?
Angela: I think making feeds my creative spirit more than photography or design. Working with objects, looking at the textures, colors, shapes and finding a way for them to have a conversation is challenging. I am not part of the conversation that is happening, I’m an observer and provide the interaction. Some times this takes many attempts, some times a piece will sit and wait for a period of time until I dig up another object or piece of materials that fits into the composition. That is a much more creative process for me. And when I find those elements that work so well together, that speak to each other, I am inspired to do more.
ORP: Talk about your work at Highlands. What is it like working in that amazing building?
Angela: I do have a couple of comparisons – other locations where I didn’t have such a stunning and inspiring environment to work in. We work in an amazing facility with the best equipment. It makes teaching even more enjoyable, because we aren’t limited by sub-par equipment or materials. It makes so much possible.
ORP: When you talk about sound, video and installation, what does that mean for people who will see your work or the work of your students?
Angela: I haven’t done much in the way of sound or video in the past few years, but I am teaching stop-motion animation this term. That is providing an opportunity to think about new work, but also just to engage in this part of past work and bring that knowledge to the classroom. I do find that I think in terms of installation when working with students, when considering our work for end of semester shows, etc. Installation is different from hanging work on walls. It is creating an environment or complete experience within a space, from or with the work we are doing.
ORP: How is teaching and working with students different from what you’ve done in the past?
Angela: I’ve taught in different settings for a long time, but the past few years it has been my focus. I find it energizing, challenging, exhausting, but then I can still get up and go do it again. There is always something new, a new conversation with my students, some discovery of theirs that they are excited about, learning new software and processes. It’s much more stimulating that what I was doing in the commercial sector (and I had some pretty challenging work there – but nothing that I enjoyed as much).
ORP: In what ways have you been able to explore the history of feminist art and artists of the ‘70s through your work?
Angela: When I was working on my MFA I did the majority of my research in the exhibitions of the feminist art and artists of the ’70s. I was able to visit the WACK! Art & The Feminist Revolution Exhibit in its last location in Vancouver. Seeing that work was inspiring and provided avenues for me to create work from a different place than what I had done in the past. I had been doing mixed media collage, but after digging into this feminist art history I started working with sound recordings, remaking relevant work from the ’70s that spoke to me and that I felt still had an audience. I also made a couple of video installation pieces along with that, following the same remaking processes. I studied the work of several specific artists, Shiela LeVrant deBretteville in particular, and Carolee Schneeman’s film and performance work, and Judy Chicago, Faith Wilding… there are so many more, I can’t even name them all. Reading what they wrote about their work, about that time and how they worked was life-changing.
ORP: What target professions are your students aspiring to, and how do these professions contribute to understanding and enjoyment of patrons?
Angela: We have recent graduates working in film, one in Director’s School (MFA program at USC), one working at MeowWolf in Santa Fe, one doing video and design work in the Dallas area at VexRobotics/Hexbug and more. There is a lot of variety in what they pursue when they complete their degrees.
ORP: Will you be doing more Wine and Art events to support student activities, and if yes, when and where?
Angela: Yes! We have one more scheduled for March 25. That will be our final for this academic year. At the Palm’s Event Center from 2-5pm. We will go to Dallas for the National Student Show, the purpose for all of our fund raising efforts, in April.
We are already beginning our plans for fall Wine & Paint events to build our fund raising for next year and provide the same opportunity to our students again. Through those fund raising efforts, we are sponsoring a Designer’s Workshop this week (March 2). It’s offered free to students and we are bringing a designer in from Iowa to present a project. They’ll work on it and complete it in a day and he will do a presentation of his work over his 30+ year career. We are really excited to be able to do this for the first time and hope to continue it annually.
Angela Meron is an assistant professor of media arts at New Mexico Highlands University. To see her work, go to 2 Ten: A Galeria of Art and treasures. The exhibit will be up through March.
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