For the first Selective Focus of 2017, we start off with Kristina Estell’s sculpture and installations which depend on form and material but are also defined by their locations around the world.
K.E.: I studied sculpture in undergrad at Herron School of Art and in graduate school at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Very early in my art education, I knew I was interested in making serial sculptural work that interacted with architectural and outdoor spaces as opposed to singular traditional forms that lived on pedestals. In recent years, I have become primarily an installation artist who creates dimensional work with a variety of materials, processes and spaces. My work is often site-specific or site-responsive … making projects that consider a particular location and/or context. Silicone molding rubber, natural stones, fabric, live plants and gold leaf are a few of my favorite mediums. In between larger projects, I love taking up the process of watercolor painting and have an ongoing series based on bubble wrap packaging material.
If you can’t see you can’t see, can’t you see?, 2015. Site-specific fabric installation. Sky blue fabric curtains were crafted and hung in the 32 windows of the far west rotunda of the Thomas Kirkbride designed Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center aka the Third Minnesota State Hospital for the Insane. This installation considers the experience of looking and control from the dual perspectives of an exterior versus interior viewpoint.
The challenges and rewards of being an artist working in this way are very closely linked. I am always trying to challenge my own thinking, technical skills, and understanding of materials, objects and spaces to generate an experience from which I can learn. That learning or discovery through the art is a great reward for me and will hopefully be apparent and transferred through the finished piece to become a valuable experience for an audience. There are always many trials and many, many errors in creating thoughtful work but having the freedom to address the challenge to me feels like a privilege and is a reward in itself.
Posture is Everything, 2013. Sculptural installation: Silicone rubber, wood. 1352 square feet of sky blue rubber sheeting was produced to equal the dimensional area of this gallery space by painting layers of liquid silicone molding rubber onto a wall and then removing the cured material to create the objects within this gallery. The weighty rubber sheets are draped and given form over a series of wooden stands. The articulated material within the space was composed to reinterpret the physical gallery dimensions into an abstracted, undulating and peaked topography.
My work can always be found at kristinaestell.com. I have an ongoing documentary archive project involving a series of stones that are installed in Stuttgart, Germany titled Situation. It can be found at situation.svbtle.com.
Situation, 2011. 46 numbered and engraved stones. A permanent installation and interactive project within the studio spaces of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. 46 stones were engraved with the corresponding number of the studio in which they were placed and left to be used by the future residents living and working in the spaces. Along with each stone, a text about the project was hung in every studio to inform and invite the resident to contribute to the project with documentation of how the stone is integrated into their studio space. The on-going collection of documentation can be seen at the blog address: www.situation.svbtle.com
I am part of Darger HQ, a young gallery in Omaha, NE, where I have sculpture and a series of watercolor paintings represented.
Treatment (covered & uncovered), 2011. Gallery installation. 300 lbs. dyed silicone rubber. Site-specific installation created by painting the walls, fixtures and ceiling of the gallery with silicone. This complete but subtle transformation altered the presence of the space into a rubber sealed, sky blue environment with cured but transfixed effects of gravity evident in the entire space. The second stage of this project involved removing the silicone layer from the surfaces of the historic space. This documentation records the process of de-installation and the resulting rubber record that precisely preserves the intimate details of this space.
Throwing Stones, 2012. Sculptural installation. Stones & rubber coating. Installation on 32 pedestals with accompanying audio soundtrack from stone throwing performance. Each of these stones were individually selected for their size and weight and then modified with tool dip rubber to create a gripping location for my hand. This hand grip creates a graphic design on the stone as well as a place to hold the stone while throwing.