Today we’d like to introduce you to Ania Gilmore.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was born in Warsaw, Poland and came to the United States in 1990; graduated with honors in Graphic Design from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and continued my studies in printmaking, book arts and fibers at the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine.
For many years I was working as a designer creating everything from print invitations, newsletters, magazine ads, websites, Trade Show Display Booths to passport book samples + security features for a variety of clients like: Boston University, Suffolk University, New England Comics, Copyright Clearance Center, GET Group.
In 2001 I was awarded the Golden Web Award by International Association of Web Masters & Designers for Excellence achieved in Web Design Content and Creativity. While still at school my work was shown and published in Seoul National University of Technology International Art & Design Exhibition Universal Design. About the same time, I was hired to design an Identity for the Polish restaurant in Boston Café Polonia and later on to design the first header for the Polish American biweekly newspaper White Eagle.
In addition to my studio practice, since 2010 I served as an educator (paper + cloth workshops) and an independent curator in the US and internationally; curated Book Art the world of limitless and Nothing twice (Nic dwa razy) exhibitions at ArtSpace Gallery in Maynard MA, Resonance: books in time in Rochester Public Library, NY, Resonance: books in time II in Brickbottom Gallery, Somerville MA, Correspondence 9th International Book Art Festival in Poland, and Joy of Freedom in Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America in New York.
I feel very lucky to have studied with so many great artists and designers like Chaz Maviyane Davis, Jan Kubasiewicz, Gunta Kaza, Brian Lucid, Ati Gropius Johansen, India Flint, Jan Zaremba, Jiyoung Chung or Elin Noble. “One of these days, I’m gonna sit down and write a long letter”…
Please tell us about your art.
I love paper!
My love for paper started when as a little girl when I was collecting paper napkins. They lived in a shoe box, being my biggest treasure. The most desired were the very thin ones that came from Japan; we called them “Mgiełki” [Mist]. Back then we didn’t have computers or cell phones, just simple toys, books, each other, and a wealth of imagination.
I always loved paper and the tactile aspect of it. Paper is continuously present in our lives in one form or another. Usually unappreciated as a permanent material, it is however astonishingly durable and has a long presence in many cultures for its versatility and adaptability; for me it is also a direct connection to nature.
A few years ago at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, I was introduced by Jiyoung Chung to Joomchi, a traditional Korean technique of felting Mulberry fibers. The technique added yet another dimension to my work and I arrived with a series of paper jewelry using that technique. I am interested in creating pieces that can be changed or adjusted in the process while the basic fiber content remains present. Since nothing in life is permanent, the idea of deliberately working with impermanence of paper seems very natural to me.
I work with different forms of paper, raw fibers, cloth and combination of traditional & non-traditional materials. While studying design and printmaking, I discovered a great passion for Book Arts; I explore the book itself and the boundaries between the form and the content. As an immigrant, I am infused with inspiration resident in my roots and history. I am interested in the continuous growing dialogue of identity and multiculturalism. The source of my imagery, which explores the connection between chaos and order, is both derived by chance and experimentation. I lived in eleven homes and continuously try to define the meaning of home. My first artist book called Attached is a survey of three generations of woman emigrants, attachment to their roots, memory of a place and a sense of belonging.
As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
Success is the courage to do what you love and to be able to continue.
I am not an artist. I’m a wanderer.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I participated in over 200 exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and internationally. Awarded 2016 Excellence in Fibers by Fiber Art Now magazine my paper jewelry was shown at the New Bedford Art Museum. Book arts and jewelry works were published in: The Collection of Polish Book Art from the 20th to the 21st Century at the Musashino Art University Museum in Tokyo, Japan; 1,000 Artists’ Books: Exploring the Book as Art book by Peter and Donna Thomas; Artistry in Fiber: Wearable Art book by Anne Lee, E. Ashley Rooney [Schiffer Publishing 2017] and Twórcy wizerunku Poloni by Fundacja Sedeka 2018, Warsaw Poland.
My recent work Tempo Rubato collection explores the emotional connections of living in two countries and examines the concept of nationality and duality on a canvas of Fryderyk Chopin’s music. It started in 2017, when eleven pieces of the series were installed in a solo exhibition in Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul, Korea. Works from the same series later on were selected to be shown at the 2018 Bojagi Forum and Chojun Textile & Quilt Art Museum in Seoul, Korea and From Lausanne to Beijing Fiber Biennale at the Tsinghua University Art Museum in Beijing, China.
Artist’s books and fiber works will be shown in a yearlong exhibition at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, GA; Book as Art solo exhibition in Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, MA, The Gallery at Penn College in Williamsport, PA, The Islip Art Museum in East Islip, NY, Wellesley Free Library in Wellesley MA, Putnam Arts Council in Mahopac, NY, Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Ct, Five Points Gallery in Torrington, Ct, and in Hess Gallery in Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Some of limited paper jewelry can be found in Fuller Craft Museum in Brocton, MA, Dahlia Gallery in Boston, and Gallery Twist in Lexington, MA.
Ania Gilmore, Jerome P. Gilmore