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Appetite for Art: Jonathan Forrence
June 17 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm$10
Appetite for Art: Jonathan Forrence
Thursday, June 17
6:30 to 8:30pm
$10 per person (all ages)
Children please accompanied by adults
Pack a picnic and join us in the park for an outdoor artist talk and tour with JSP Park Manager & Artist in Residence, Jonathan Forrence! Picnic with community from 6:30-7:30pm in our outdoor amphitheater. At 7:30pm, Jonathan will give an artist talk of his exhibition, including Tied to the Land, at JSP and share his experience as JSP’s Park Manager and Artist in Residence. Learn more about Jonathan at jonathanforrence.com and on Instagram @neff.303.
Masks are welcome but not required. Please maintain a safe social distance from participants not from your household.
Appetite for Art at Josephine Sculpture Park is a monthly event on the third Thursday of each month from May through October.
This artist talk is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council.
About the Exhibition: Tied to the Land
I discovered through building this body of work as a whole that I, like John Ruskin, value the handmade objects of this world. The attention to detail, picking which stave would be woven to the next, reminded me of my childhood growing up on the farm working with my hands. Unlike Ruskin, I also saw the value of the machine and the industrial process and how it made life quicker, faster, and cheaper. I merged these two processes: The handmade weavings and bending of wood and the industrial strength of steel fabrication into forms that reminded me of home.
The forms I built came to me twisting towards the sky like the trees and plants of my father’s farm towering over me when I was a child. The trees where picker’s ladders were placed in. I felt tied to that heritage, tied to the farm, and tied to that rural community from my past. I was not alone in leaving my farming heritage or my small community in search of an urban practice, many a son or daughter has picked up and moved to the city seeking a life without dirt under their finger nails. Yet they see the earth stacked in my sculpture Monuments, the familiar rows of the farms they grew up on. Rich baskets of heritage dumped out empty around them but still chained to their pasts.
I have merged steel, wood, and some supporting elements to discuss the loss of rural heritage today. I wanted to express my own guilt for leaving the family farm and abandoning that craft, but also express at the same time my incredible pride in growing up on a farm. The intersection between rigid, straight, and cold steel and the bent, woven, and twisted wood create forms that discuss the pride and guilt I feel over leaving the community I grew up in.
This exhibition is part of Jon’s completion of his MFA Master’s Thesis at the University of Kentucky.
About Jonathan Forrence
Jonathan H Forrence grew up in the small and rural town of Peru in upstate New York about 45 minutes south of Montreal. There he lived, played and worked all on his father’s apple orchard for the first 18 years of his life. He would take a few years to explore the United States after high school teaching skiing in the Rockies of Colorado. He would return to Peru, NY to work on his father’s farm while also attending Clinton Community College. After watching a bronze pour while visiting Plattsburgh State University he would change his major to art and continue his education in the fields of sculpture and printmaking receiving a bachelors of fine arts from Plattsburgh in 2017.
After graduating with a bachelors degree he would take a some time to explore artistic internships and fellowships at several sculpture parks around the United States. His work grew in size as he became interested in the intersections between self and material. During this time he focused on large kinetic works that engaged the viewer and the landscape his work was placed on. Often these sculptures tended toward simple geometric aesthetics accented by the kinetics.
In 2019 he started graduate school at the University of Kentucky to obtain a masters in fine art. It was here where his attention turned to his relationship with his father’s farm, and exploring the emotional impact of leaving a family heritage behind in pursuit of his own goals. “I was interested in exploring my past because I could see the landscape changing around me in Lexington. What did it mean to see farmland turned into suburban sprawl? Who were these farmers and how did their sons and daughters feel about this? Would that be the fate of my father’s orchard someday? What ties rural communities to the land, our heritage, our memories, maybe even the community its self?” He started exploring these questions with steel, wood and other media on a large scale.