Get to know the artists of ‘B18: Wiregrass Biennial’ – Part 5 (final segment)

WMA asked several of the 41 artists whose work is currently on display in B18: Wiregrass Biennial to answer questions about their artistic practice. This is the last post in our five-part series of B18 artist interviews on the #wmaINSPIRED blog. If you have missed the previous four, you can find them archived on the blog. Thanks for reading!

Randy Gachet – Birmingham, Alabama

Neo-Geode, 2018
Reclaimed expanded polystyrene foam, reclaimed foil/plastic packaging and wood

WMA: Tell us about your work in B18.

My recent work relies on geometric form as a counterpoint to an array of “waste“ materials encountered in my daily orbit. Spherical polyhedral shapes are particularly interesting to me as a modernist, futuristic trope. Constructed from common building materials, the structure of the form allows me to play with the counter material in a way a musician might use a jazz standard or blues progression to improvise upon to create something new and unexpected. My piece Neo-Geode is a tongue in cheek reference to the “Neo-Geo” art movement in the late 1980’s and the geologic structure geode. It is a playful way to consider the shift between geologic time and the rapid clip of technological advancement.

Randy Gachet, installing Neo-Geode in the Main Gallery

WMA: What is your experience working with WMA? Have you shown work at the museum before? How did you hear about the exhibition?

It is a great privilege to say I have been working with WMA for the past decade. It began in 2006 with a dialogue with former WMA director Susan Robertson resulting in a 2007 exhibition of my work. In 2009 WMA acquired my work Steal from the Sky. I also participated as a featured artist in WMA’s Art 24 program that included creating the on-site installation Industrial Sunflowers. My work has also been included in WMA’s B12 and currently in B18.

Steal from the Sky, 2009, Reclaimed tire, wire, and plaster

WMA: Do you often participate in juried group shows like the B18? Why or why not?

I think juried group shows especially those hosted by museums are great building blocks for an artist’s career. It is a great way to garner attention from curators, expand one’s audiences and build up your resume.

WMA: How long have you been making art? Did you grow up in a school system with a strong arts program? Did someone in particular encourage you to develop your practice?

I graduated Birmingham Southern College with a BFA and I have been consistently working at it since then. I feel like I was very fortunate to grow up in a school system that included the arts in its curriculum all the way through high school. My high school art teacher encouraged me to pursue art after high school, but it was really my experience at BSC that encouraged me to develop a practice as an artist. The art faculty, the program and my peers were all instrumental. In particular I would say it was the mentorship of Professor Robert Tucker that had the deepest impact.

WMA: In your opinion, why is it important for communities (both large and small) to have a thriving arts community? Have you chosen to move to a town because of its support of the arts/artists?

I believe the Arts, its practitioners and supporters, are a vital component to a vibrant healthy community whether it be large or small. I do feel it is certainly a greater challenge for smaller communities to foster a thriving art community.

WMA: Where do you find inspiration? What (Who) has the most influence on the art you make?

My fascination with materials, particularly those encountered outside the canon of conventional art materials, has always been a point of departure for my work. Often the experience and context of collecting and acquiring the material becomes a formative part of the process. Trying to understand the natural and artificial environments I simultaneously inhabit tends to be a driving force in my work.

 

Youth Art Education Policy

Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

Museum educators are experienced in creating positive learning environments for all ages and are required to go through a background check to ensure the safety of our students. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the studio at the end of class to see what their child has created. All docents and volunteers working with children are also required to go through background checks.

Thank you for understanding our policy and priority on the safety and well-being of participating students.

Throughout the year, WMA will host “Meet the Educator” days where parents and their children can come to the classroom to meet the instructor before beginning classes and camps. 2019’s schedule is as follows: January 30 from 4pm-6pm, May 29 from 4pm-6pm, and August 28 from 4pm-6pm.

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The Wiregrass Museum of Art may cancel any class with insufficient enrollment; students will be notified and given a full refund. If a student withdraws at least 1 week before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for the full cost of the class. If a student withdraws 24 hours before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for half the cost of the class. There are no refunds after the start date of class, and membership fees are nonrefundable. Students are not enrolled until complete payment is received.