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Eleanor Conover

Eleanor Conover made paintings and drawings in response to the texture, light, and architecture of the farmland and nearby granite quarries. Learn more about Eleanor on her website: eleanorconover.com

“July here was full of family-style dinners, distant loon calls, fireflies, collaborations with my fellow residents, and many hours in the studio. It has been a refreshing time of art-making and thinking, and I am full of gratitude for the opportunity to spend time here at Rolling Acres. This month allowed me to work in a much more dedicated and distraction-free way, and the relative isolation offered a space of focused experimentation and questioning in the studio. I appreciated the specific vision and aims of this residency

The garden was incredible and it was so wonderful that the mission of sustainability and agriculture is embodied in it. We often ate together and I think in the beginning, a large part of this is due to the fact that we had the shared resource of such great produce. So, building community through food felt alive and well here.

In residence here, I have also continued to think about the value of connecting art, writing, and research to environmental space, which occurs at many different levels. While at Rolling Acres, I also read the the catalog from the ICA Boston’s Black Mountain College exhibit, and I have since thought frequently of Helen Molesworth’s words: “With the hope, during the midst of world war, that the world could be rebuilt, Anni Albers intimated that working with materials, making art using your hands and your eyes, ultimately generates a kind of nimbleness—which I read as consummately physical, psychic, and intellectual—that is constitutive of the capacity to make empathetic and hence ethical choices.”

The notion of developing a kind of empathy vis a vis the working out of something seems to be a point where an artist might might understand a farmer’s task and vice versa. This involves not only the outcome of art-making but also the process and material concerns: space, resources, and “nimbleness,” among other considerations. It also acknowledges a system in flux, be it a material piece of artwork, a fallow field, or an atmospheric condition. This is how we might continuously renew our sense of a land ethic—as makers and workers, close to our materials, aware of the environmental precarity of the global and local spaces in which we live.”

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