How can a drawing can affect and shape space? I am intrigued by how we think about space, and how conceptions of space are informed not only by our knowledge of such things as maps and satellite images, but also by the movements or activities that occur in specific spaces. In addition to these concerns, I seek formal and conceptual ways to assimilate drawing into sculptured forms.
The sculptures/drawings are produced through cutting or repeatedly puncturing the surface of the paper with a pin or shaped punch. The resulting images and forms describe space in both diagrammatic and topographic ways. Depending upon the direction of the light and the placement of the forms in space, these drawn projections appear as two and three dimensional dots, low reliefs, or points of light. Some of the drawings/sculptures suggest plans and elevations of the globe and our galaxy. They also explore strategies for charting three dimensional space as well as unseen movements around the globe such as wind, water currents, or bird flight patterns. Through the work I hope to reveal some of the biases and limitations of how we think about space as well as of how visual maps are often used as a tool to perpetuate those ideas.
In the last year, my work has focused on revealing hidden aspects in the local geography, resulting in a series of new works inspired by South Eastern New Mexico where I lived as a resident artist. The research behind the work focused in part on the mineral resources available in the geographic region: specifically the location of water, oil, gas, and electric lines. The desire to understand complex systems of local and global human interaction with natural resources is what lies behind some of the abstracted drawings/sculptures. When seen next to each other, the pieces attempted to give the viewer a broader understanding of New Mexico. The focus and research behind the art work created in an effort to better understand a local geography may change from one location to another, but the desire to reveal something unusual about a region through the work is consistent.
Artist Bio / CV
Renee van der Stelt was born in 1965 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and grew up in Ontario and Iowa. She received a Masters in art history in 1990 and a Masters of Fine Arts in drawing from the University of Iowa in 1993. Van der Stelt now lives in Baltimore, Maryland and exhibits nationally in solo and group exhibitions. She has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the City of Baltimore, and the state of Maryland. She was an artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony in 2008, and recently spent a year as artist-in-resident at Roswell Artist in Residence, Inc. Her work is included in the Washington Project for the Arts registry.
See web site listed for updated CV and additional information regarding exhibitions: www.vandersteltrenee.com.