“In one of our early meetings I expressed to Rebecca that I was having some confusion around how do I continue to present things and ideas that I have worked on in the past. Working with this material of coal but also introduce something new and explore new territory. She really didn’t hesitate and was like, go wild, don’t slow yourself down. Just keep creating and keep making and explore, you know keep exploring. And so I think that is something I will take away from this show is that idea of just like you said not pigeonholing yourself but allowing yourself to be constantly influenced by new things and influenced by new people and new interactions that you have.” - William T Carson
SOURCE MATERIAL is a collaboration between artists William T. Carson and Rebecca Rothfus Harrel, conceived by Troy Campa, the owner and curator of CAMIBAart. Turns out each artist was a big fan of the others artwork and jumped at the chance to work together. But to what extent would they collaborate? Would their individual work just hang side by side or would they create pieces together, or any variation in between. They ended up influencing and supporting each other quite a bit through the process of preparing the exhibition and the results are really wonderful. Have a listen to the interview and visit the gallery to see the work in person.
William T. Carson got his start in the northwest US and still has a strong connection to his family’s cattle ranch in Montana. He didn’t grow up on the ranch for most of his life but has nonetheless has a desire to understand and experience that area, a landscape with vast natural beauty and a long history of coal mining. He passed much of his time before college drawing as a way to see and understand the world but at a certain point started to incorporate coal into his artwork. As an adult art has become a way to connect with others and he loves the community aspect around making art and the conversations about life that ensue. His current work incorporates various sized pieces of coal that are placed in a ground up coal and adhesive mixture. With each successive artwork he has learned to be more present and divisive and stay out of his head. The proccess of creation only allows for one chance to make each individual piece in that moment before everything solidifies. One goal of the work is to inspire viewers to come away from his work seeing the materials that he uses in a new way and rethinking their relationship to them and what they mean.
Rebecca Rothfus Harrel grew up in Pittsburg and had the great opportunity to attend art classes at the Carnegie Museum from and early age through high school. With that experience she learned a lot about creating art and education, which very likely led to her two current professions, being an artist and a teacher. Her early artwork in college not surprisingly was about education but after moving to Texas she found herself in awe of the big skies and evolving landscapes, especially those in west Texas. She transitioned to making more landscape work and for many years focused on the types of things people consider ugly or don’t pay any attention to but that also give a sense of the future or some kind of progress. Then she discovered an interest in rocks and minerals, which now most all of her abstract landscapes are based on. She uses matte opaque gouache and graphite gradients to render micro/macro worlds, diagrams of mineral structure that could also be perceived as vast landscapes. There is an ambiguity of scale in her work and you might while looking at it imagine you are an ant crawing on a geode or mineral, the inhabitant of antoher world.
William T. Carson & Rebecca Rothfus Harrell: SOURCE MATERIAL
June 16th - August 11th, 2018
2832 E. MLK Jr. Blvd., Suite 111, Austin, TX 78702
Some of the subjects we discuss:
Process of making a piece
Museum art classes
Art Institute of Chicago
Interest in teaching/education
Minerals and rocks
What they learned
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian