Regenerate: Artwork by Chelsea Greninger

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During the month of August we are exhibiting work by Sacramento artist Chelsea Greninger. Regenerate houses an assortment of metaphorical drawings about the destruction and regeneration of life. Taxidermy birds, images of elephant hunting and whaling mixed with living insects, birds, bees, bulbs and tubers illustrate the contrast of destruction and regeneration. Below is our interview with Greninger:

 

Your graduate degree is in ceramics. Do you find that sub-field of fine art less comercial than 2-dimensional work?

Like any fine art medium, there is the bigger commercial market and a more specific submarket. In the larger market, mediums are mixed together commercially and in that market I find it is harder to sell certain types of ceramics when in competition with 2-dimensional work. It’s weighty and fragile qualities are harder selling points against a lighter more solid drawing or painting as these are often things consumers consider when purchasing artwork.  I would include my most recent clay work in this challenging category because it relies heavily on ephemeral forms and installation. The ceramics submarket is a totally different story. Within that specific submarket, the commercial clay object is highly sought after. If you attend any NCECA clay conference you will understand. Many clay artists who do larger work or non-functional work also produce novelty and functional items such as mugs, bowls and teapots. Richard Notkin can sell a teapot for $10,000 in this market of teapot collectors because he is famous in the ceramics arena. Many clay artists travel the world demonstrating their large work to audiences, exhibiting it in galleries and selling their smaller wares as well. It is a way for the smaller pocketed consumer to own and collect famous artist’s clay work. I also have worked in this vein and see my smaller functional work as sketches for the larger ideas. 

How does your drawing style differ from your ceramics? Does one medium influence the other?

Yes, my drawing has always influenced other mediums I work in. I often start with drawing to stimulate ideas but it often works its way into the clay or sculpture. Drawing is not only for concept generation. Often the line quality, value or texture translates to the surface or form of the clay. Many drawing images appear in the clay in the form of 3D figures or on functional work you will find them as decoration; foxes and bees painted on mugs, words and animals interacting around a spout or on the bottom of a plate. Drawing with glaze is amazing because there are two images. The private one that only the artist sees when you draw on the greenware and it is pale and still. The public one when you unload it after it has been fired and it is bright, liquid and alive.

 

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How long have you been teaching art? Is there a certain age group you prefer to teach?

I have been teaching art since I was in high school. Mission trips to Tijuana, Mexico and Pisinemo, Arizona on a Native American reservation in summer camps, working with different non-profits throughout college, teaching through grad school drawing/3D design/ceramics, working in art museums, teaching at the college level and now at a Middle School/High School Charter School for the Arts. It has been my career from the start and I adore it. I prefer teaching youth over adults and it has taken me a long time to realize this. There is an unrestrictive, less goal oriented, playful thing that happens with youth. I love middle school kids for their enthusiasm and delight in creating for the first time. I love high school kids for their discovery of themselves through art making and how that becomes a venue for taking a stand for or against things. I think I like them more because they inspire me more.

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How long have you had a studio at the Verge? Has your time there changed the way you work, or your aesthetics?

I have had a studio at Verge now for 3 years. I was determined when I got the studio to make it a space where anything could happen. I actually went into the space not giving myself any goals other than to PLAY. That was a special gift to myself because I had just spent a year making heavy clay work to ship to conferences and galleries and I was exhausted from the making for a show concept, double boxing and spending excessive amounts of money on shipping. I needed a time to make, just to make. That sprouted many things for me including a studio filled with mixed media sculptures that were done…or not done. A playhouse built out of cardboard and a large scale installation performance in the Verge Gallery last summer called “Versed in the Fragility of Love in this Intimate Technology”. That show was the culmination of all my PLAY and it was something I had never done before. So, yes. Working at Verge has changed my aesthetic immensely.  Part of that is working around such inspiring artists, having a community to work within and knowing that I am supported in this town.
Thank you Chelsea! Regenerate will be on view August 2- September 4. Join us for the reception of Regenerate on August 2. RSVP here!
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  1. carol greninger says:

    Was joyful for me to read this……as Mom……made we want to know the artist and see the creation……..love you chels….

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