Now showing Memorial Day – Labor Day at WGWL Trailhead Welcome Center!
Featured Artist: Lori Biwer-Stewart
I grew up on a small farm outside of Elma in North Central Iowa. I haven’t strayed too far from home and now live in Osage, IA where I also have a small studio. Iowa was a wonderful place to grow up and I still love the quiet beauty of it. I’ve had many influences that have led to my career as an artist. One of them often inspired the name of this exhibit. My grandparents lived on the same farmstead and were very involved in my childhood. Quite often when I was very young my grandmother and I would walk a half mile down our gravel road to a small wooden bridge. The ditches were always full of chattering crows and red winged blackbirds, and we’d look at the flowering weeds along the way. She had a vivid imagination and convinced me that the small poplar trees that grew wild in our ditches were whispering to us. As the wind blew softly making the leaves rub together, I swear I could make out a word or two. I can still hear them clearly in my head and I still believe there must have been some magic there. I’m still searching for magic in the ordinary. I earned an Associates of Applied Arts degree in Commercial Design from Hawkeye College in Waterloo, IA. I have worked in the graphic design field for over 30 years and have had at a variety of design positions with newspapers, a signage company, and commercial printers. I am currently working as a Marketing Coordinator for a steel door manufacturing company designing literature and advertising. I’ve always made time to create. After years of working with many different art mediums I eventually took a small class for linoleum Printmaking at a local art center and knew it was the perfect fit. I love the simplicity of the technique and graphic look. Everything I know about printmaking is self-taught. I depend on my natural abilities, a large library of reference books, online tutorials, and valuable information from other printmakers. I sell my artwork online, and at summer art festivals in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I am also represented by galleries in Iowa and Illinois and have had several solo exhibits.
I’m not interested in relationships of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions while telling a story. Some of my subjects are quite beautiful, others less so. My goal is to inspire those who see my work to look more carefully at the world around them, to discover beauty in unusual and ordinary places. Many of my pieces encourage interpretation and have symbolic images such as keys, birds, or doors that help to tell a story. Crows, ravens, and other birds are often included if not the main characters in my work. I find them inspiring and eerily humanlike. I also give great thought to my titles. In fact, most of the time I know the title before I create the image. Random words or phrases from books, music, quotes, or just general conversation tend to haunt me until I jot them down in my journal to later inspire a piece of art. My work has been growing both in size and complexity. Ultimately, I do not seek to unravel mystery or provide answers, but rather record my observations and ideas in whimsical images, encouraging others to seek out the answers for themselves.
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