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Memoir shares Artist’s Personal Journey

Art through the Lens Exhibition

This summer, one of my portraits from The Quiet Rebuild will be featured in an exhibition called Art through the Lens held at the Yeiser Art Center in Kentucky. The exhibition was curated by juror Sarah Sudhoff.

Here is some information about Art through the Lens, curtisy of the Yeiser Art Center:

HISTORY

Originating in 1975 as the Paducah Summer Festival Photo Competition, Paducah Photo has grown from a fledgling contest into an international juried exhibition. Over the past 40 years, this exhibition has become one of the Mid-South’s most prestigious annual photographic events.

In 2013, Paducah was bestowed the honor of being designated a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network in the area of Crafts & Folk Art. To embrace both this international honor and reflect the international growth of the exhibition, this year Paducah Photo will take on a new name, Art Through the Lens.

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Art Through the Lens is open to all without restrictions on size or content. It provides photographers with an outlet for their art, encouragement for growth in their vision and presentation and cash rewards for works of exceptional merit.  Each year from the hundreds of works submitted, 60 – 100 images are selected for exhibition by a highly qualified juror, with five of them receiving cash awards. An awards presentation will be held during the opening reception.

Yeiser Art Center is a non-profit visual arts organization celebrating more than fifty years of serving the community with exhibitions and education throughout the Tri-State Region. It is situated near Paducah’s riverfront at 200 Broadway in the historic 1905 Market House building.

yeiser art center alexis marie chute

 

Plan a visit to Art through the Lens:

Yeiser Art Center

200 Broadway

Paducah, KY 42001

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Exhibition dates: June 20 – August 1, 2015

The Quiet Rebuild in The Bellingham Review

I am honored to have three of my fine art photographs featured in the recent issue of the Bellingham Review. Their Spring 2015, seventieth-Issue arrived in my mailbox all the way from Western Washington University. I am always impressed with publications that merge multiple art forms into one. Placing photography and art beside written literature is wildly stimulating for readers – who are also viewers.

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My images in The Quiet Rebuild are about the resiliency of the human spirit to press on after hardship. The people included in the portraits are volunteer models who responded to a public call. They felt that participating would be a healing step on their journey – and I believe they are right. The Quiet Rebuild is an exciting and provocative project with a big heart. I am always blessed by the people that pose and share their stories.

Alexis Marie Chute Bellingham Review art photography blog

If you would like to be one of them, email me at info@alexismariechute.com with the subject: The Quiet Rebuild.

Healing by the Creative Arts

Through making my art, I discovered art therapy in a natural, organic way. No one told me to try it to help me heal. I wasn’t recommended a set of exercises to do in order to find myself. I just sat down in my studio with a pile of small woodcuts and got started without any direction or even conscious intent. The first wood sculpture I made I named The Quiet Rebuild and it was the beginning of that larger body of work.

Since then I have looked into the theory of art therapy and find it very stimulating and thoughtful for me in my professional art practice. In one of the semesters of my MFA I took an art therapy class as an interdisciplinary option and found it deepened my perspectives on art and healing. It gave me a new dimension in making, reflecting on and contextualizing my work. Since then the wood sculptures in The Quiet Rebuild grew to incorporate portraits of real people sharing their stories of resilience.

Now I am honoured to teach about the restorative potential of creativity. I offer two workshops: 

Healing through Visual Art

Healing through the Written Word

This summer and fall I will be presenting these workshops in Chicago Illinois, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Sherwood Park Alberta and San Antonio Texas. If you are interested in having one or both of these presentations at your conference, event or association, please email me at info@alexismariechute.com

I strongly believe that art must say something that matters. Within my work, I wrestle with the ideas of loss, struggle and survival. You can read more about my approach in my Artist Statement.

“The Quiet Rebuild” at Exposure Photography Festival

I loved being the Artist-in-Residence at Harcourt House Gallery and Artist Run Centre and my solo exhibition there, “The Quiet Rebuild,” touched at the very heart of who I am as an artist. I’m so thankful I visited the exhibition on its very last day with a dear family member and our kids. The youngsters ran around the gallery and laughed and played. It always warms my heart to see children stimulated and comfortable in a space full of art. Teach children to love art and they will hopefully love it as adults as well. That’s the goal.

The Quiet Rebuild Wall copyright Alexis Marie Chute

My exhibition at Harcourt may be over but the show must go on!

One of the photos in “The Quiet Rebuild” will be exhibited in Scottsdale Arizona at Method Art Gallery opening this week, but after that the whole collection will be shown in a solo exhibition in Calgary as a part of Exposure Photography Festival. I will also be giving two talks during the festival, sharing the stories of the portraits as well as discussing art’s ability to heal. February 2014 will be an exciting month!

 

Here is the info about “The Quiet Rebuild” at Exposure Photography Festival.

 

“The Quiet Rebuild”

Exposure Photography Festival

February 1 – 28, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, February 7, 2013, 6 – 10 pm

Art Central, 100-7th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, CAN

 

The Stories behind the Portraits of The Quiet Rebuild
Join Alexis Marie Chute as she shares the harrowing yet inspiring stories of her volunteer models. From infidelity, heart attack and loss, her portraits tell tales of resiliency to overcome any obstacle. Alexis Marie will also reveal her own experience which was the impetus behind it all.

Where: The Quiet Rebuild exhibition, Art Central, 100 – 7th Avenue S.W. Calgary, AB, CAN

When: 11:00 am, Saturday, February 15, 2013

Cost: Free

 

Healing through Creative Arts
After the death of her son, Alexis Marie Chute realized that photography, art and writing were powerful tools to express grief. Join Alexis Marie as she discusses creative personal expression and ways that photography can be used to find healing and self-fulfillment. Examples of photographic image making will be presented.
Where: The Quiet Rebuild exhibition, Art Central, 100 – 7th Avenue S.W. Calgary, AB, CAN

When: 11:00 am, Saturday, February 22, 2013

Cost: Free

 

I am truly looking forward to connecting with the Calgary art community! Join me!

The Quiet Rebuild gallery copyright Alexis Marie Chute

The Quiet Rebuild & Alexis Marie Chute on Alberta Prime Time and Shaw TV Today

My artwork in The Quiet Rebuild will be featured today on Alberta Prime Time and Shaw TV.

Here are the details:

Alberta Primetime

6pm, Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Channel 9 or 212

Shaw TV, Go! Program

Starting at noon and running through the afternoon/evening

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Channel 10

Can Art be Practical and Helpful?

I was wondering, why is art therapeutic for some people? What magic does it possess to help us through difficult times, rebuild our lives and re-learn the act of hope? An epiphany came to me in an idle moment of thought:

Art is a tool for healing because it pulls our attention from the past hurt to the present moment.

When we are creating something in the here and now, we experience its tactile nature, the flow of the paint, the coolness of the clay as we begin to kneed it between our fingers, the click of the shutter as we react to at the perfect moment. These physical qualities of art making draw us into the present moment where we can be mindful of our blessings, that we are here, alive and that life is a beautiful gift worth living in the fullest manner possible.

While art grounds us in the moment, it also teaches us to look forward, to anticipate.

What will the photo look like in the end? Will the sculpture endure the kiln? Will my words resonate on the page tomorrow? Or the week after? Or next year? Once the paint ceases to drip, what will remain? In the same way, art helps us heal by bringing our attention to the future, allowing us to hope for better days and cultivating faith in our purpose and identity.

What a revolutionary epiphany!

Many people think of art as overpriced creations by eccentric individuals, displayed at stuffy galleries for the ‘cultured’ but devoid of practical use in our everyday lives. To some, this may be their only experience with art. It is true that some people make art inaccessible to the average viewer.

Despite negative experiences with art, and I’m sure most of us have had such experiences, art does have an amazing redemptive capacity when applied to an open, willing and searching soul.

Alexis Marie named Artist in Residence at Harcourt House Artist Run Center

 

 

I am thrilled to announce that I have been named as the 2012/2013 Artist in Residence at the fabulous Harcourt House in Edmonton, AB, Canada. What an honour! My official start date is November 1st and I can hardly wait. I am already planning which furniture to outfit my studio space and literally dreaming about the body of artwork that I plan to develop over the year.

 

What exactly is an artist in residence? Thanks for asking. That is a great question!

 

The role of the Artist in Residence is twofold:

 

First, Harcourt House is supporting my artistic career for a whole year by providing a studio space where I will create new artwork. At the end of my term they will mount a solo exhibition of my creations in their gallery.

 

The second component of the residency is the opportunity for me to interact with the art community and Edmonton as a whole. I will be doing this through teaching art classes, opening my studio for visits and writing about my artistic journey here on my blog, Artist Reborn.

 

My plan for my residency includes developing a body of artwork that focuses on healing and rebuilding a person’s life through and after struggle. I will be painting, creating mixed media artwork and wooden sculpture (like “Quiet Rebuild”). Poetry and creative writing will also accompany my visual art.

 

About two years ago my son passed away in my arms. This was a pivotal event in my life which has dramatically changed me as an artist, mother and overall human being. Through mourning my son, I have found my voice as an artist and my subject matter of healing and rebirth. I am a new person and I believe art was one of the major factors that illuminated my way and gave me incite for personal evolution. I am sure this work will be an inspiration and touch many viewers as we all face challenges in our lives that require strength to overcome.

 

For those who are interested in learning more about my journey and how you too can use artwork in your healing process, I plan to teach a class on this subject during my residency. I will post again when dates have been set. Attendees will gain artistic tools including poetry writing and collage that will aid in individual restoration. Please get in touch if you are interested in attending this class (or if you have other ideas of subjects you would like to learn about).

 

I am elated to be Harcourt House’s 2012/2013 Artist in Residence and will keep everyone updated on my progress. If you would like to receive email updates on my residency, info on the classes I will be teaching and other fine art and creative writing posts, please enter your email address in the box on the right (“Subscribe to Blog via Email”).

 

Check out the Harcourt House website: HarcourtHouse.ab.ca

They even offer yoga in the gallery! Find out more at Art & Mind: ArtMind.ca

The Quiet Rebuild

This post was first seen on my blog Wanted Chosen Planned as it relates to the rebuilding of my life after the loss of my son Zachary. I featured it there to encourage those who have lost a child to experiment with art (of all kinds: painting, photography, journal writing, etc.) as a means to find healing. I re-post it here as my hope for this blog is to bolster the weary creative spirit within us and to turn our frustration, fear, and failure into the artwork and creative writing that we were born to bring forth. 

“The Quiet Rebuild” © Alexis Marie Chute, Wood Sculpture 2012

I have been making sculpture although I am not primarily a sculptural artist. I find the use of my hands in the tactile nature of my recent artwork very soothing. My art has been focusing on the idea that we create our understanding of the world in many ways. When my son Zachary died, my world crashed down. Like a forest burn by fire, I was brought to ash, literally. It is fitting that my artwork uses wood, both natural and manmade. I find this particular piece, “Quiet Rebuild” particularly therapeutic to look at. It reminds me of where I am at, rebuilding my life in a different time, a simpler, basic time where my expectations of the world have been brought into check.

I rebuild my life and my understanding of the world from the burnt forest, atop a humble piece of wood. What I make of my life at this stage is truly of my own invention and each fragment of my understanding of the world comes together in an awkward balance but feels right in the face of everything I have endured.

Art is a personal and unique expression. It may not bring you the answers you search for but it can help you understand the questions you are asking. I encourage you to experiment, play and create like a child. Healing often does not arrive in the way we expect.

“The Quiet Rebuild” – When death comes and takes, it changes us who live. When we see this life as it is, the impermanence of all we hold dear and yet our ability to continue on, to love and value what truly matters, then we rebuild our soul with these lessons, changed yet whole.

Drawing Hearts for my Son – The Art of Struggle

Artwork: “Wanted, Chosen, Planned” Mixed Media, September 2010 © Alexis Marie Chute

I was well over halfway to my due date when doctors discovered that my unborn child had a large tumor around his heart. This news began a month and a half of daily testing to determine if there was anything that could be done. There wasn’t and my son Zachary passed away shortly after he was born.

During the month and a half before Zachary’s birthday and death day, I made art. I made art based on the news we were given and the new world of medical technology and imaging that was opened up to me. I was so overwhelmed on a daily basis that art became my therapy. It was a means for me to think about our situation in an effort to make sense of it all. I now know I will never understand the “why” of this tragedy but that creating art in that time was a helpful means to cope.

As the main issue with my son’s condition was the tumor around his heart, I began to draw anatomical hearts using black pen. I made three copies of my favorite drawing using a laser printer and painted three backdrops in flowing reds and blues, two colours associated with blood flow that I watched in real time on the monitor during many fetal echocardiograms of my son’s heart.

I did gel transfers to apply the hearts to the paintings, the abstracted reds and blues of the painted backgrounds showing through the images. I applied a sheer aqua fabric to the areas surrounding the hearts, sewing it on with red thread which I let hang loosely in certain places. The blue, water like effect, references the fact that a heart that is not beating properly, as in the case of my son, causes fluid to build up in a person’s body.

Black bars along the bottom of the compositions anchor the three pieces together and reveal the words that constantly ran through my brain as I struggled in the helplessness of trying to save my son. Wanted. Chosen. Planned. These three concepts became my mantra, my prayer during that dark time.

 

Have you used art to help work through a struggle? Please share your experience.