100 Year Long Trip
I am all finished with my November Solo Show at Blue Bottle Art Gallery in Seattle. Here is a sneak preview!
Minneapolis based painter and mixed media artist Amy Rice first began painting on antique cedar barn roof shingles when her uncle re-roofed his barn (for the first time in 100 years) in 2003. Bluebottle Art Gallery had already been exhibiting these popular pieces by Rice in their retail gallery for over a year when a label discovered on the back of a single shingle identified them as originating from the Seattle Cedar Lumber Company. Rice had been conscious of the historical layer added to the finished art piece by employing these shingles as her “canvas” even before the Seattle link and had chosen her subject matter accordingly; sheep and rabbits, farm laborers and rural landscapes with a nostalgic mood given a contemporary edge by Rice’s signature stencil and spray paint technique.
Rice now finds additional inspiration for her work in contemplating the travels these shingles have made and the rich history associated with each step. From giant Cedar Trees in the Northwest forest to a lumber mill in Seattle (she discovers that the laborers that made the shingles were called shingle weavers and that their union, the first organization in the lumber industry, is credited with being forerunners in the movement to higher degrees of safety in the workplace, health benefits and the 8 hour work day.), to a cross country train ride (as part of a vastly changing economy based on this new means of shipping across America) to become a roof of a beloved family farm in Wisconsin, to a Minnesota artist, and flown back to a Seattle gallery as art. Whew!
Rice paints an entire show exclusively on 100 year old plus cedar shingles originating from Seattle. Her imagery reflects the humble shingles’ historical links to the cedar tree and Northwestern forests, the early labor movement , trains, farming, American architecture, and now, art.