“What surprised me most was my realization of just how important the process of renewal is to my work and creative practice. I access it with each new project, and even with my old projects that I need to add vigor to. In my art, a successful piece is rarely duplicated and I am much more driven by reinventing my process, technique, or philosophies. Through this fellowship, I have discovered that the art of renewal can just as well be my art.”
Lauren Zoll is a visual artist with a graduate degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She spent part of her fellowship in Washington DC researching for a new body of work. An interest in “seeing through black in both historical precedents and current relationships to technology,” drives Zoll to create reflective black paintings that she hopes will draw a connection from art to screens. During her time in DC, Zoll studied Nam June Paik installations, Rembrandt’s use of black paint, and techniques from the Dutch golden age of painting. She explained her new body of work further, “As part of my work with black, I have been developing a black ink or paint from black beans. I have been experimenting with the purple, brown, indigo, green, and black colors that I can derive from soaking black beans at various intervals. This has bridged my interest in nature and my use of black as a medium.” She was also able to travel to Chicago where she participated in the exhibition at the Elmhurst Museum of Art and went to see Kerry James Marshall’s retrospective, Mastery, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
She also explored cyclical patterns in nature by constructing a garden, a composting area, and an outdoor fire pit to further her research. Just as the fellowship changed Zoll’s understanding of renewal, it as served to redirect her personal and professional life. “There’s more openness to change when I take the time to embrace nature’s growth and death patterns.” In her professional life, Zoll felt supported by the community of artists immediately surrounding her. She says, “It opened my eyes to the nature that is in Indianapolis, and it connected me to a community of other artists and activities around the city, which allowed me to help share the fellowship both creatively and economically.”