Oil painting and wool fibre art promise a colourful residency at the Barracks

The seventh week of the Fredericton Arts Alliance’s Artist in Residence program will welcome artists Anna Mathis and Bess Forrestall to the studio for their first residencies at the Soldiers’ Barracks.

Anna Mathis graduated from the city’s New Brunswick College of Craft and Design two years ago and since then has been exploring wearable fiber art. She has created unique felted necklaces, one-of-a-kind skirts and sculptural dresses, and a variety of woven wraps and naturally dyed scarves. “My mediums are what I use to execute these ideas,” says Mathis; “raw wool from sheep, natural dyes from my back yard and many types of colourful and textured yarns. I create spun, woven, felted and knitted pieces with utilitarian function; items with every day uses such as tea towels and rugs.” The theme of the Artist in Residence program is New Ground, and artists have been asked to explore what it means to come to a new place or to come to new understandings of place. Anna believes that when exploring new ground, “our identity can be shaken, and so much of our story is told by the clothes we wear. We try and find how we fit into a new place by either blending in or standing out from the crowd.” Anna intends to felt and sew garments and accessories to provide an outlet for others to express themselves and where they come from. “To me, finding home is about finding a safe place to be yourself.”

Bess Forrestall is also from Fredericton and continuously returns to the city for inspiration. She completed her BFA in painting at Mount Allison University and her MA in Art Education at Concordia University. Forrestall’s practice revolves around exploring the idea of ‘place’ as the intersection between memory and space, or the association of past memories with physical places. She plans to engage the public by asking about their experiences of this intersection. While in residence, Bess will be drawing in graphite and painting in oil. She has recently returned to Fredericton after living away for three years, and has spent the last six months in Jaipur, India, so she knows what it’s like to be away from home. Her current body of work explores the experiences of living in an unfamiliar place and the experience of returning home, which ties in perfectly with the theme of New Ground.

Every summer artists take turns working in an old casemate at the Soldiers’ Barracks in Fredericton’s Historic Garrison District. Locals and visitors are given a unique opportunity to experience fine art being created in front of them, while artists happily answer any questions. Mathis and Forrestall will be working at the Barracks from July 18-24, and the casemate is open seven days a week: Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

by Monica Smart, 18 June 2016

Anna Mathis’ website: http://www.ploomefiberarts.com/

Read Anna’s interview with CHSR

Read Bess’s Interview with CHSR

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