Open Space, Open Sky, Open

Time is the strangest thing, and that is especially apparent here in Nebraska. I arrived two weeks ago and find myself asking what has happened since. Three hours can pass by like three seconds back home. It’s not that I haven’t been working, I have – on doors, on temples, on crocheting giant socks – but still, it feels like a blur. There’s a hint of futility, living this ascetic art life – a constant reminder that your life, your actions, are small, insignificant; three hours of your time – just a blimp in the sky. Speaking of the sky, it’s magnificent here. The sky here is so honest and open, the clouds so expressive. By looking up, one can predict the next glass-breaking thunderstorm. And the thunderstorms are unreal, how the sky shows no hesitancy. Our Californian rain clouds are soft and gentle in comparison.

When I first arrived I was afraid of the openness, the open sky, the open fields, the open time. I thought what I had wanted was all the time in the world to work on my art, and I was granted that wish at Art Farm. The first few days, I made a schedule for myself. I yearned for routine, which sounds odd to say, but I missed the comfort of having structured days. As the days passed however, I began to follow my spontaneous urges. I’ve never worked like this before. I thought my practice was about adapting – to my small bedroom, to my limited resources – but here, there’s 40 acres of land to do as I please, a wood shop, a metal shop. It’s almost pathetic to admit that I was so scared of pure possibility. I hadn’t been challenged like this before. Free of obligations, I found myself lost. Finding safety in my usual crocheting, I had expanded to found fabric, crocheting on a large scale. My plan is to create a form for the Sculpture Prairie, but who knows what will become of these ideas that come and go. The possibilities are endless, and I am just an open vessel, allowing the quiet stillness of this place to inform my practice. It’s still too early to tell how this new way of working is influencing my art making, but I’m looking forward to my next six weeks here.
Jennifer Huang’s work can be seen on her website. When she isn’t experimenting on Art Farm she lives and works in Berkeley, California, and writes for Venison Magazine.

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