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Columbus Makes Art Presents Anne Spurgeon on Her Work and Opening Her Studio to the Public

Nick Dekker Nick Dekker Columbus Makes Art Presents Anne Spurgeon on Her Work and Opening Her Studio to the PublicSee inside Anne Spurgeon's studio during the Columbus Open Studio and Stage Tour, happening September 14 and 15, 2019.
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The fourth-annual Columbus Open Studio & Stage (COSS) returns Sept. 14-15, 2019. The public is invited to visit 45 different Columbus artists at 18 locations, enjoy behind the scenes experiences at local performance spaces and organizations, and to explore seven community arts partners. Anne Spurgeon will offer tours and demonstrations of her Clintonville studio over the weekend; we chatted with her about her background, inspirations and what she’ll share on the tour.

Nightfall (left) and Dead Horse Bay I (right) by Anne Spurgeon.
Nightfall (left) and Dead Horse Bay I (right) by Anne Spurgeon.

Nick: How long have you been creating, and how do you describe your work for those who don’t know it?
Anne: I’ve been creating for over 25 years. Questions about transformation reoccur in my creative practice. My involvement began through performance, from playing guitar on stage, to creating video performances about identity and the sense of the public and private self. In the past few years my focus has moved away from the personal consciousness of the body, to the transformation of sculptural materials. Wood, concrete, metal and textile processes inform my current studio work.

Anne Spurgeon in her studio in Clintonville.
Anne Spurgeon in her studio in Clintonville.

Nick: Who are some of your greatest influences?
Anne: I was just in New York to do some teaching and had the opportunity to view the Whitney Biennial; I was really taken with the sculptures of Wangechi Mutu, Simone Leigh and Nicole Eisenman. They don’t influence my current work but are definitely on my radar. But greatest influences? I don’t think I have a staple of them — my influences are always changing, dependent on what I’m thinking about and tackling in the studio.

Presently, I’m artistically influenced by Isamu Noguchi and Jimmie Durham’s transformations of materials. I’m also inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ skill to conceptually and seamlessly work between materials. And then there is the other stuff that influences my work; right now it’s Rumi and Robin Wall Kimmerer’s writings, close observations of the natural world and great music!

Trophy 7 by Anne Spurgeon.
Trophy 7 by Anne Spurgeon.

Nick: This is your first time presenting at COSS, correct? How are you feeling about welcoming guests to your studio?
Anne: I’ve participated in open studios in Brooklyn, NY but this is the first time I am presenting at COSS. I’m really looking forward to seeing familiar faces, meeting new ones and sharing my work.

Nick: What are you planning to showcase or demonstrate over the COSS weekend?
Anne: I’ll be showcasing a few different projects, ranging by date and series of pieces. In relation to more current work, I will demonstrate how to make stains using natural and accessible elements from your kitchen or garden. Visitors will be invited to have a drop-in and hands-on experience experimenting with items like coffee, turmeric and pureed beets.

Nick: What’s your favorite thing about the Columbus arts scene right now?
Anne: I was just talking to a friend about this very thing. I love the diversity, growth and support of the Columbus art scene right now. There’s a wide range of artists presenting different perspectives in multiple ways. It appears the public and institutions are embracing them. That’s so important and presently needed for a greater connection with one another and understanding of the world around us.

Visit Anne at her studio during Columbus Open Studio & Stage, Sept. 14-15. Purchase tickets or download the app to participate. A full list of artists, stages and partners, as well as ticketing links, can be found at columbusopenstudioandstage.com.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art and sharing information about exhibitions, performances, concerts and more at ColumbusMakesArt.com. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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