Beyond Boundaries

Conversation Between Artists

Judith Moses • Fine Art
Cynthia Bonneau-Green • Jewelry & Fiber Art

Beyond Boundaries, featuring artists Judith Moses and Cynthia Bonneau-Green, will be at the Gold Mountains Art Gallery’s September show. The artists chose their show’s theme after a discussion between the two last winter. The following conversation summarizes their talks.

Cynthia Bonneau-Green and Judith Moses.
Cynthia Bonneau-Green and Judith Moses.

Artists's Show & Reception

Artist’s Reception is Friday, Sept. 1, from 4 to 7 p.m. Food and refreshments will be served.

Beyond Boundaries Show runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 30, 2017.

Gold Mountains Gallery • 600 S. Clark Ave., Republic, WA 99166.

Judith: I love the isolation I am privileged to have up here in the Pacific Northwest, but this last year I began to really miss the excitement and creativity that pervaded the atmosphere at the University of New Mexico where I received my degrees in art. Just being around inspired, talented people every day, artists bouncing ideas off each other, willing to try crazy unheard of things, was so electric!

I decided to take a break from my usual watercolor westerns and revisit some of the other media I had worked in back then. I pushed the boundaries of how these media are normally used, breaking the “rules”, finding ways to make it mine. Some pieces were “flops” and later destroyed. Others I felt were successes and are displayed in this show. But whichever they were, I feel they strengthened all my art.

“Some pieces were “flops” and later destroyed. Others I felt were successes and are displayed in this show. But whichever they were, I feel they strengthened all my art. ” — Judith Moses

Cynthia Bonneau-Green's metal work shines in these earrings.
Cynthia Bonneau-Green’s metal work shines in these earrings.

Cynthia: I, too, love the beauty and isolation of this part of the Pacific Northwest. That said, my love tends to ebb and flow based upon whether or not I’ve spent the morning with the working end of a snow shovel. Just saying. Which does bring me around to the theme of our show. Every year, usually in mid-January, I find myself sitting at the kitchen table with a decision to make…shall I spend the long, cold winter learning something new or should I just slit my wrists now? So, after a pot of strong coffee, I decide what new skills to learn.

I’m mostly self taught and have found resources like YouTube and books from our incredible library allow me to learn just about anything I’d like to try. This year I decided to expand my jewelry line to include metalworking. This is a completely new direction for me. I was also determined to learn how to weave double weave. Let me just say THAT one hurt my brain. Getting over the fear of failure is the biggest hurdle, but if you just break the surface tension it always seems inspiration will follow. Mostly I don’t know the rules, so breaking them doesn’t seem to be my problem….but I am committed to exceeding the boundaries of what has become comfortable. For me, this is what our show is about.

Judith: I agree, and I hope it inspires other artists to reach beyond their comfort zones and explore the possibilities. For instance, I have worked extensively in charcoal medium because I love the texture and the color, but I found an artist I admired who worked with charcoal on mylar film. So I had to try it and I fell in love with the fact that it adds another element to a black and white composition by factoring in light. Then the problem became how to display the piece and not lose the light.

I’ve also done a lot of batiks, but there were always compositions I wanted to do that frustrated me because I wanted a certain effect that is easily achieved with watercolor, but impossible with batik. After a lot of angst, I finally figured out how it could be done and from then on, I was off and running.

I also tend to re-explore themes so I have a tendency to start series of pieces, several of which are present in this show. “American Icons” is a series of petroglyphs and pictographs. I have been very interested in the encaustic icons created during the Byzantine era in Europe, but I think here in America our Native American petroglyphs are our icons. So I started adding precious stones, beads, and other “jewels” just like they did to religious encaustics hundreds of years ago.

Judith Moses's “American Icons” series of petroglyphs and pictographs.
Judith Moses’s “American Icons” series of petroglyphs and pictographs.

“Getting over the fear of failure is the biggest hurdle, but if you just break the surface tension it always seems inspiration will follow. ”   —  Cynthia Bonneau-Green

Cynthia: Unlike Judith, who is experimenting with and pushing the boundaries of mediums she has some familiarity with, I have never worked with metals (with the exception of sterling silver wire) in my jewelry making. Working with metal and precious metal clays has pushed me way outside of my comfort zone. I have found that once an artist has matured into a certain style or way of working, it is extremely difficult to allow yourself to be a beginner again. This is exactly what I had to do with the new jewelry works for this show. I know I have much to learn, but on the other hand, not knowing what I can’t do has allowed me to experiment, make mistakes AND make some pieces I hope will be unique and unusual.

As for my weaving, I have a strong commitment to using fine quality fibers formed into garments that are a little different than traditionally seen. For example, the classic Ruana style of wrap is longer and more like a fashion blanket, if you will. I love the look of ponchos, but I really hate pulling things over my head….so, I have combined the structure of the Ruana with the length of a poncho. I think it is quite pleasing and functional. As I mentioned earlier, learning how to weave double weave broke through a boundary for me. I’m also hoping to complete some ENTIRELY new woven items that are more into the area of décor. These will be fun and surprising and utilize very unconventional fibers in the weave structure.

Judith and Cynthia: We can’t wait to see people’s reactions to our show. While the show will be up for the entire month of September, hopefully everyone can come for the Artists’ Reception on Friday, September 1, 2017, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Gold Mountains Art Gallery and visit with us about our new directions.