Introduction by Kristin George Bagdanov
Casey Underwood grew up in Santa Barbara, CA, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Studio Art at Westmont College. He came to Ruminate via a month and a half long fly fishing trip that took him up through California and down through Montana and Wyoming to Fort Collins. Along the way, Casey has proven himself to be a very proficient fisherman (which is clear from his Instagram feed) and artist, which is also clear from the many astounding pieces he produced during his ten day residency with Ruminate, all of which respond in some way to his recent experiences on the river.
Casey uses form—most notably boxes in many of these pieces—to constrain and partially contain the fish in these drawings, constructing artificial environments around them that cause us to consider our own expectations and understanding of the supposed “natural” world. For instance, how many rivers could we say are “natural” today? In the 50s and 60s, many of them were tainted with DDT and other chemicals, the remnants of which still linger in the fat cells of trout; and still rivers are stocked, dammed, and rerouted to produce an artificial experience of the natural for the fly fisherman and other outdoor enthusiasts. And yet, Casey’s work doesn’t present a nostalgic, pristine representation of nature, knowing that such a representation is not possible; but neither does he despair of this reality. Rather, he keeps this fact of constructed environments constantly before our eyes in these pieces while still appreciating the life that springs from them.
Another interesting facet of this show is how this art functions as an act of preservation of natural form itself. In a time of climate change where species extinction is a matter of fact, so too is formal extinction. For example, what would we lose, other than water and wildlife of course, if all of the rivers dried up? (which probably didn’t seem too impossible a notion during Casey’s time in CA). Aesthetically, the form—the shape and the movement of the river—matters, I think, and Casey’s sculptural construction based on actual rivers somehow captures the gesture of those rivers, preserves their form in our memory in a way that only art can. And finally, we see the meeting of constraint and preservation in the brass caps filled with resin-like epoxy in which a fake fly is trapped, returning us to the hinge between artificial and natural, that sustained ruse between fish and fisherman, leaving us to consider what matters in these distinctions. For more of his work, visit www.caseyunderwood.com
Introduction by Brianna Van Dyke
In preparation for introducing Judith to you all, I began gathering all of her incredible life experiences and accomplishments into a list, and I quickly realized that Judith makes for an surprising list of adventures--she is a true renaissance woman! I love the concise nature of lists, so I decided to simply share my list here with you tonight. I think it's a wonderful glimpse into the life of this talented writer.
Judith grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, and attended CSU, receiving a degree in linguistics She speaks two or three languages, by the way She married, and has been married for over fifty years (no small feat) She raised three children (also no small feat) She worked for a contractor with the Air Force translating intelligence documents from the Soviet Union (basically, top-secret spy stuff) She founded an arts program in East San Diego county, Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council, to stimulate interest in arts and create an art community in that rural area and work to with the schools on supporting the arts She founded a community garden in her town, teaching people how to grow lovely vegetables from just seeds and dirt (magic?) She founded Ad Lib, a retreat and workshop program based in Colorado for artists of all mediums (she is a fantastic gatherer) She's the associate editor and columnist for her hometown newspaper where she writes about community—her column is called "Coming Together." She’s the playwright of a stage drama about Israel and Palestine (also no small feat) She’s a composer of an orchestral 4-part string work called “Genesis.” She’s the author of three books of poetry: Going Home, I Sing America, and Living with what Remains She founded Quiddity, a small literary press that published four different titles during its run She has been a spiritual mentor to countless women across the country and over the years She is an environmental activist and a political activist, and she cares deeply about the future of our earth and our country—See her book “I Sing America” She is also Ruminate Magazine's 2014 writer-in-residence, and she is completing her first non-poetry book called Sky Mesa Journal. It's an amazing manuscript--and we are thrilled to have a hand in helping this book reach an audience.
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