Oolite Arts residency at Anderson Ranch gives visiting artists from Miami space for experimentation
Every winter, a cohort of artists from Miami come to Snowmass Village for a five-week stay at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. It’s part of a residency program called “Home and Away” offered by the Miami-based organization Oolite Arts, whose president and CEO Dennis Scholl is a longtime patron of Anderson Ranch.
Participants get an unrestricted $2,500 stipend, plus coverage of their travel expenses and accommodations, and for visiting artists like Juan Ledesma and Cornelius Tulloch, it’s an opportunity to experiment and grow without the pressures of everyday life.
This year’s “Home and Away” residency officially wraps up Wednesday; reporter Kaya Williams stopped by Anderson Ranch on February 20th to speak with Ledesma and Tulloch about their experiences. The transcripts and audio for both artists’ accounts are included below.
I grew up in Miami — a super exciting place to grow up. I think a lot of my work reflects that upbringing, because although Miami is an American city, it also has a very international, especially heavy Caribbean and Latin, influence. So a lot of my work deals with, well, what does building an environment of a Miami look like? What does these different things, and how am I influenced by the architecture and the spaces and the people I see around me?
So a lot of my work kind of is dissecting that upbringing, and ‘what are these things around me’ and really kind of analyzing them.
It's been really exciting to kind of find these ways that I can build in a cultural narrative and history into something that seems just like a building object or certain things. [I’m] seeing that through different color palettes and textures, even architecture has a language or a culture that it belongs to. So I've been kind of just developing that idea through these collages and seeing where it takes me. Honestly, it's been like an experimentation.
Also, it's great when I do have these moments when I'm away from Miami, to really reflect back. Now, you know, I'm printing out all these different images from Jamaica and Miami and different things and seeing them on the wall while I'm here in the snow is super interesting.
It's been great to kind of have this kind of isolation away from it to really begin to almost have an outside look on a place that is familiar. So it's definitely allowed me to kind of become more of a researcher in even what I'm looking at in my own work.
It's allowed me to look into the actual ways that I'm making and kind of reimagine them. ... I really wanted to have access to these facilities that can really kind of push the ways that I'm making.Cornelius Tulloch, Oolite Arts "Home and Away" program participant at Anderson Ranch Arts Center
The snow, although it's very stark, and it's everywhere, I think there's these little moments when you'll see a color far out in the desert and you're like, “Oh, look at these little patterns or the patterns that happen in the snow.” I love seeing kind of, like, the footsteps and the different traces of things that have walked by or gone by. And it's made me think about kind of the way that I'm layering my collages and building up this kind of trace of history and narrative within it.
In Miami, I'm a resident artist at Bakehouse Art Complex, and being there, we do have certain facilities, in terms of wood and metal and different things. But the thing that’s special about here is how much support there is at Anderson Ranch with digital fabrication, which is something I'm really interested in, in my own process, and then just the amount of machines and things that they have.
So it's allowed me to look into the actual ways that I'm making and kind of reimagine them. Even when I was getting this opportunity and speaking to Oolite about why I want to come to Aspen and Anderson Ranch, I told Oolite that, I really wanted to have access to these facilities that can really kind of push the ways that I'm making.
It's been great here with all these artists from different places coming into this one space, and us just sharing with each other's work.
I think that's been one of the biggest takeaways from here, is just learning about their work. I'm like, “Oh, I need help in building some type of material, like, how can I make the paint do this thing?”
And some other artists, they're like, “Oh, you can do this.” And I'm like, wow, it's so great to have this kind of dialogue with them, where, if I haven't done it, someone here has done something similar or can add some sort of advice. And I think that's one of the best kind of takeaways from here is the other resident artists who are so eager to help and just have conversations at dinner about what we're working on, and also to see how many connections we have from other places.
And I think it's made me kind of rethink how I'm going to go about things when I get back home into my studio. And how can I continue to have these types of conversations with other artists and different things to help kind of enrich and build up my practice?
Miami — I mean, I don't want to get into the topic of Miami real estate. But the studios are hard to come by, so I've kind of been working on an as-needed basis. So I come up with a project and I basically devise what kind of space I need for that project, and then I go about it that way.
But here, I have almost unlimited space and resources available, so it's really given me the opportunity to experiment in ways that I wouldn't have done in Miami.
I'm making ceramics which I hadn't done since college, which was a while back, and thinking about form in different ways.
It started as one thing and then just kept evolving, like every decision, you know? I wanted to work with paper, I wanted to work with oil pastels. And as I started kind of engaging with those materials, certain images and certain ideas kind of started popping up, like ideas that I've been kind of [fascinated by] for a while, the main one being like cave paintings.
I started looking at a lot of images of cave paintings, kind of analyzing this sort of geologic background, which is the rock on which these images are imprinted on, and then analyzing the mark making and stuff like that and getting a lot of ideas, I guess, free flowing more from that research.
I use the sort of topography of the painting, but without the painting and then I do my own kind of mark-making on top of it. So it’s very geological in a way, right?
I've also been using this symbol of the trapezoid. This is a form that gets used over and over in ancient Incan and pre-Columbian architecture. And it comes from this idea that a mountain is wide at the base and narrow at the top, so it has a stability to it.
I've been thinking a lot about that relationship: This trapezoid is very much [an] abstraction through a human lens, like [a] rectilinear simplification of the mountain, you know?
Here, I have almost unlimited space and resources available, so it's really given me the opportunity to experiment in ways that I wouldn't have done in Miami.Juan Ledesma, Oolite Arts "Home and Away" program participant at Anderson Ranch Arts Center
I've had a lot of really great conversations with people that are here.
It's kind of more of an exchange, right? I walk into someone's studio, I notice something about their work, and then they come into my studio, they notice something, so it's been really nurturing because there's ideas that are always percolating in the work, right? A work is never really about one thing.
I guess artists are right now being sometimes asked to describe, to kind of like, simplify their work. But when you're amongst a group of artists, you kind of understand that that's never really the case. So it's been really nice for people to notice aspects of my work that I've been thinking about and kind of presenting them in different ways.
Not always do you get the opportunity to not worry about making meals or you know, time. Because you don't have the sort of pressures of everyday life here.
And that, I think, for everyone that experiences this, basically, speeds up your process, like three times, five times the amount.