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Shannon Rankin


Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was born in central California and moved to Vermont when I was 9. Now I live in Rangeley, Maine; a rural town on the eastern shores of Rangeley Lake in the Western Maine Mountains.

Simpling Series No. 2

What inspired this series?

I’m surrounded by nature here so that tends to be what inspires much of my work. This particular series is a continuation of an ongoing body of work I began a few years ago.

The Simpling Series is reminiscent of the Rorschach inkblot test, and loosely based on the art of simpling, an early form of herbalism. This practice suggests that the shape and color of medicinal plants carry clues to their proper uses in healing. By utilizing these healing properties, ailments can be treated with the plant or plant part that most resembles the ailing body part.

With this new series I decided to work with layers of color for the first time and to cut both organic and geometric forms to reveal new patterns. A variety of colorful new forms emerged suggesting blossoms, stems, fruit, leaves, and geometric totems.


How is vellum different than paper?

I use vellum paper which is translucent and has a luminous quality which gives each piece a sense of depth.

Simpling Series No. 5 (detail)

You use a lot of maps in your work, especially your installations. Where do the maps come from?

Sometimes people donate them to me. Occasionally I find them at yard sales, I rescue them from the dump, I find them on ebay and collect them when I travel.


Why do you think we are so obsessed with symmetry?

Symmetry is inherently attractive to the human eye. It’s natural to respond to or to recognize patterns around us. Symmetry is balance, harmony and resonance. We are symmetrical!

Synapse

Do you have a favorite tool / medium?

If I had to choose a favorite it would have to be my scissors, especially when cutting vellum. It’s so satisfying to cut crisp vellum. Paper is my medium of choice.

Any exciting projects coming up?

I have a couple of two person exhibitions next year with my hubby-to-be (Justin Richel / justinrichel.com) in Portland, Maine and Stüttgart, Germany.


Artist's website.

Written by Kate Singleton — October 08, 2012