My current work is mostly about embracing concerns about what is happening to nature and to various populations through watercolor paintings, mixed-media and ceramics. I feel that artists have the largest potential for making the world aware of what is happening to nature in certain cities and countries. We have the added advantage of having little to lose by being honest and by our statements being VISIBLE, not subtle and couched. We cannot be ‘bought’ or ‘sold.’ I also like to comment about our current political situation by using symbolism in my work, both subtly and in an overt manner. All of the work I have submitted as entries have symbolism in them, as well as being direct. For instance, in “Precarious Palms,’ my first entry, the shored-up palms also encapsulate the vulnerability we all are feeling as human beings. In “Washed Ashore,” my second entry, the gentleman washed up on the beach, having regained consciousness, is struggling with identity issues, something that we all relate to. Being naked, he is doubly vulnerable. “Victory,” the last entry, is about our 2020 election. The symbolism there should be obvious.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
In 1980 Chicago artist Anne Farley Gaines moved to Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood after receiving her MFA in painting from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Gaines’ signature works are mixed-media folding screens, shaped wall pieces and murals, mostly nature-based. Her most recent murals are three cement barriers transformed into 3-D murals at the Maxwell Street Community Garden on 13th Street in Chicago. Being community-minded, she designed and created them with local youths. For this mural series Gaines received two grants — one in 2020 from the Chicago Housing Consulting Services and another in 2021 — an Individual Artist Program Grant from DCASE, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Her ceramic works and paintings are in numerous private and public collections including Sara Lee Corporation, Chicago; Valley Hospital, Ridgewood, New Jersey; the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, MI; the Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL; the Wichita Falls Museum of Art, Wichita Falls, Texas, and Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, IN. After the pandemic began, Gaines contacted Stola Contemporary Gallery to curate and organize “All in the Same Boat, or Are We? Artists Respond to 2020.” It was one of the only live socially-distanced openings that happened in Chicago all summer. Gaines’ most recent paintings and ceramics reflect her concerns about how climate change is affecting vegetation, animals, underwater creatures, and people. She is enjoying the process of giving workshops in watercolor, ceramic and mixed-media and promoting these subjects through art -making. Her personal motto is “Go where the enthusiasm is!”
© Anne Farley Gaines