Precursor

Ellen Winkler, “Getting to There”; 2020; 6 5/8″ x 7 1/2”; Oil on prepared board

Who has come before? We know their names, the important dates in their lives, where they lived and what they did while they traversed this earth. But who were they? What did they think, believe, imagine, dream about in their daily lives? What made them laugh? What kept them awake in the dark of night? What brought them joy? To consider those who have come before us, just as we one day will be considered by those who follow in our path, is to better understand our place in the yawning timeline of reality. To know that we are not alone – have never been alone – that our struggles, joys, worries – all of it – have been felt and shared millions of times over by millions of people who were at once just like us and nothing like us at all.

Ellen Winkler lives and works in the Washington DC metro area where she says she has felt relatively safe during the pandemic living in a place with strong safety measures. Both Winkler and her husband are artists and have found plenty to fill their time while they shelter at home. Like many artists who have spoken with us during the pandemic, they have found this time beneficial in terms of producing art free of outside obligations. Winkler is a printmaker as is her husband. Recently she has been doing a lot of work at an old farm where she came upon a dilapidated log cabin. She receive permission to spend time on the farm studying the landscape and buildings, noticing how the light struck them, drawing them and making etchings. Winkler also turned to a collection of sketches she has made over the years of people on the subway, using them as the basis for drypoint etchings. Winkler also moved to oil painting landscapes, something that brings up memories of her youth spent in Michigan. To hear more about Ellen Winkler’s work, as well as a short discussion about the nature of these Praxis discussions, listen to the complete interview.

Natalija Vujošević spoke to us from Montenegro where she is from. She has just returned from Serbia where she participated in the 30th edition of the biennale. In her art practice she works with memory, archives  and speculative constructions that she makes from objects that she usually finds or sees in public space that belong to a particular aesthetic or material reality of socialist society. Montenegro is located in former Yugoslavia where abandoned factories and shop windows abound. Vujošević uses these spaces to create speculative works that reach back to the area’s history. To hear more about her work, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Our stories are one small fragment in a complex and beautiful tapestry that stretches before us and will carry on long after we have gone.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Praxis user Rhonda Gates is reading Wild by Nature by Sarah Marquis. Praxis editor Julia Tolstrup recommends The Eastern Book One: The Early Years by Deborah Gould.

Deadlines

Artists responding to COVID-19 and its implications for human rights defenders, activism and shrinking civic and political space may be eligible for funding from University of York Centre of Applied Human Rights which as created a fund for “Arctivists” (Artist + Activist). Visit the website for more information and eligibility. Deadline is December 31.

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