AK: I work in sculpture, mostly, with some drawing, including ink and tar drawing on wood. My real “medium”, though, would be my subject matter. Over the years I’ve drawn closer and closer to doing only work that comes out of the ecosystem I’m in. I’m kind of a literalist, I guess. I love the forms of things, and so I use those forms, I try to learn them and come to know them by imitating them, like a kid learns.
The challenge, early on, was to work my way out of the idea of “self-expression” and find ways that other life forms or ways could find expression through me. That took awhile. It started with discovering, first, clay and its difficulties and memory, and then sumi ink and Chinese paper– which taught me about valuing process over result. Then discovering weeds– that was good. The series of paintings I did of backyard plants was likely the first really good work I did. Having faith in what I loved, rather than in the artworld, was important too. Now, the rewards– well, it’s work, right? I’ve had a lot of different jobs, and enjoyed most of them; now making art and words is my work, and it’s only a little scarier and more ecstatic than that foreman job in the bakery. I’m glad that I’m serving what I love. And I’m glad that the lifeworld reveals itself to me because my job is to look at it, for a long time. That’s the gift.
I have work at the St. Louis County Government Services Center downtown, the plaza at 2nd St and 4th Ave E. The animals and benches there I did. There is a pair of barnyard animals at the Zoo– the memorial for the barn animals that died in the 2012 flood. A steel sculpture at the bus station in Fargo, another in a roundabout in Fergus Falls. There’s big bronze waterforms (that I did with Jeffrey Kalstrom) at Harriet Island Park in St Paul, and a set of stoneware tiles at the same place. A sculpture of hands and water at Lake Superior College. Other things. My website is annklefstad.com.
I will be having a show of ALL NEW WORK along with three friends–Alison Aune, Kirsten Aune, and Arna Rennan–at the DAI in November. I’m also working on a sculpture of a Baikal seal (nerpa seal) for the Great Lakes Aquarium (it will be ready by July 1) and a pair of wall commissions for Central Lakes College in Staples, MN. A couple of other things are in the works, but it’s too early to talk about them yet.
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