Eleanor Neal is a contemporary artist who explores themes of empowerment of women, cultural identity and history. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has a studio at The Goat Farm Arts Center. Eleanor is intrigued by the stories from the women of West Africa, Guadeloupe and the Gullah islands near the Georgia Sea Coast who fought to survive in a world of darkness, enslavement and chaos. The flow of water represents birth, cleanliness, spirituality, power and movement, the journey to a new world for a new life. It is the connection to water that drew her to the unique qualities of Spanish Moss. It became clear that Spanish Moss was the metaphor for survival by these women. Like the Spanish Moss on the tree which holds water within to sustain life, these women survived in spite of their physical, psychological abuse and isolation. The tree can be dead, yet the Spanish Moss thrives amongst death. Eleanor has attended residencies where she has explored materials for her process. Treated papers, and beeswax, are twisted, crushed, torn, cut, and used to symbolize memories. The monotypes, collages, and abstract ink drawings resemble the complex, intricate intertwining and interlacing plant. They symbolize order as well as disorder that existed in the lives of these women who are survivors. Eleanor’s work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. She was selected by curator Michael Rooks, the High Museum of Art, for WonderRoot, CSA 2016.
LRMFA Summer Residency Experience
The studio visits played an important role in the development and growth of my art practice. I had several studio visits from instructors and visiting artists. Each instructor gave advice, and proposed thought provoking questions. In addition, I was given suggestions on artists to research and view that could make an impact on my work. I spent time at the museums; The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago researching and viewing art works and artists. The VA lectures were very informative as well. Having the opportunity to hear artists speak about their work and what inspires them as well as the question/answer sessions after the lecture was very informative. I took notes and now that I have returned home, I find myself reviewing my notes from the lectures.. Experimentation, exploration of various materials and media was an important part of growth and the development of my work which was the result of the dialogue, conversations, and critique sessions.
LRMFA Online Experience
I worked with Nathanael and Pamela Sneed during the Fall and Winter sessions. Both played a major role in my graduate education. Pamela Sneed’s class focused on Human Rights, Women’s Rights and art and activism. The course led to a deeper understanding of my work and how to speak about my work as it relates to human Rights and current events. Our cohort group shared dialogue in our online discussion group sessions that were interesting, engaging and informative. I was able to relate the stories and readings to my studio work as well as use the information as part of my thesis research. I took Nathanael’s course as part of the 6 hours’ elective in preparation for Thesis Writing. I’m very glad I took her course in preparation for Thesis Writing the following semester. Nathanael set-up a format for the course that provided engaging Readings and writings that were informative and multi-layered. The course allowed me to investigate, explore, as well as discover new ideas. The course led me to take a trip to the Gullah Islands which made an impact in my work. I returned from a trip to Ossabaw Island on the Georgia Sea Coast, inspired to work in my studio. I was very fortunate to have both Pamela Sneed and Nathanael.
I was awarded a position in WonderRoot CSA 09 in Atlanta, GA. The program selects 6 artists to create 30 artworks to be exhibited for a select group of Contemporary Collectors. WonderRoot CSA is designed to create a “Community Supported Agriculture” model for selling and purchasing artwork that fosters a symbiotic relationship between artists and supporters of art. As part of the WonderRoot project I have been working with a team creating a video about my work that will be featured at the WonderRoot Gala at Eyedrum Gallery, October, 2016. I was selected for an exhibition at Swan Coach House Gallery in 2017. Swan Coach House Gallery is curated by Atlanta curator Marianne Lambert, at the historic gallery is attached to the grounds of the Atlanta History Center. The group exhibition is called “African American Abstraction.” I was selected to be a presenter at the SGC International Conference panel titled “Artist of the African Diaspora: Printmaking.” The conference will be held in March, 2017 in Atlanta.
Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.