A group of eight artists were brought together in 2018 by Nancy Turner to test the hypothesis that individual artists, practicing in a variety of media, with different philosophical and artistic approaches, could work individually at a distance on the same surface to produce imaginative, coherent work. As participants we viewed this project as an extension of our own current art practices. The initial project, Route/Rut/Lane, exceeded our expectations and with that, the group has continued to develop a variety of collaborative experiments to exhibit. The collective now called, Hana Kark has been invited to participate in Kolaj Fest New Orleans 2019, an Artist’s Residency at The Gallery of GCC at Glendale College in Glendale, California for Summer 2019 and have several exhibition opportunities for the Fall of 2019.
Karkhana is the Urdu term for the imperial-sponsored workshops that produced manuscripts for Mughal Emperors from the sixteenth until the nineteenth century in what today is India and Pakistan. In these workshops, the production for a single work of art was divided among various collaborating “masters.”
The Karkhana concept was tweaked for our project, as what was historically an actual physical workshop with many skilled workers in the same place became instead a loosely defined collaborative network. Eight artists worked for eight months on sixteen pieces circulated in a prescribed order until everyone worked on all sixteen pieces.
1. Create a self portrait (any size and material okay)
2. Take a photo (or scan) of the portrait so that it will fit on a 8.5 x 11” page. Create a jpg to send to participants.
3. Send the JPEG to each participant.
4. When you receive an image from an artist, print out on ANY kind of 8.5 x 11” paper you can put through your printer. For example you may print on card stock, printer paper, transparency, etc. Must be flat to be used in a book/zine in the future.
5. After you print the 8.5 x 11” image, you will paste, collage, cut up, tear up, chew up; how ever you want to use the image on a 12 x 12” piece of paper (kind of paper your choice). The end result should be flat so it can be used in a book/zine in the future.
6. You will receive an emailed digital image (self portrait) from each participant and you will email a digital image of your self portrait to each participant. Assuming full participation you will create (7 or 8) pieces of 12″ x 12″ art.
Participating Artists: S. Portico Bowman, Carlyn Clark, Johnny Fox, Margaret Lazzari, Luke Reichle, Chris Russell, Caryl St. Ama, Nancy Kay Turner
Eight groups of eight works each (plus original image). Each work is 12 x 12 inches. Mixed Media.
Description: This project is about how we see ourselves, and then how others may take our images and modify them, combining their own aesthetic styles and media with the choices of the original artist. Each image was deconstructed and then reconstructed, giving it a different reality.
Collaboration System: Each participating artist created a self-portrait in digital format, which they then emailed to the other artists. Separately, every artist printed out all the self-portraits and worked on them in their own studios. When finished, everyone mailed or delivered their work for the show
Description: This project is an exploration of the glory of color. Each artist made twenty-five panels dedicated to one of the primary or one of the secondary colors. The project is half completed, with BLUE, ORANGE, and GREEN; to be completed are red, yellow and violet.
Collaboration System: Each artist worked separately on their twenty-five panels for each color. The collaboration element comes in the hanging of the work, which can be configured by color, arranged by artist, or randomly placed in a mosaic of color, texture and text. This concept allows for maximum curatorial flexibility as each artist’s 25 panels are a complete 30” x 30” work by themselves, but may be separated and rearranged in unlimited configurations – and may be presented in a formal grid, or an organic series snaking around the gallery walls.
Hana Kark intends to create transformative art experiences for the viewer, and for the artists who make the pieces, through a collaborative process that is at once prescribed and spontaneous. For the first time, in this collaboration, each artist worked separately on their twenty-five panels for each color. The collaborative element comes in the hanging of the work, which can be configured by color, arranged by artist, or randomly placed in a mosaic of color, texture, and text. This concept allows for maximum curatorial flexibility as each artist’s 25 panels are a complete 30” x 30” work by themselves. The artwork may be separated and rearranged in unlimited configurations – and may be presented in a formal grid, or an organic series snaking around the gallery walls.
To date, we have exhibited the collection three times. Each exhibit was curated by different people, twice by the artists, and once by an independent curator. Beyond the exhibitions, interior designers and Individual collectors who have purchased the work have made their own curatorial decisions, sometimes combining the work of multiple artists, and sometimes narrowing it to a single artist.
Over an eight month period ending in September 2018, eight artists collaborated on sixteen pieces of art collaged on paper. Each artist created two first layers, using a 15” square piece of Rives BFK paper. We then sent the work off to two different artists, who each added a layer and then sent them off to the next artist in the rotation. This continued until we had fifteen pieces of art (one went missing in the mail) that each of eight artists had worked on.
Techniques used included painting, drawing, printing, stitching, stamping, cutting and pasting. Participants were allowed to erase, remove, or paint over earlier marks if necessary for the composition. Each mixed-media piece has a diaristic element as every artist was instructed to write on the back and to note the date of arrival and when they finished it and of course, to sign the back. Some artists added notes about mood or a particular emotional trial they were going through.The orientation changed on some works as is evident on the paper trail on the back.
Just like in real life, some pieces were easy to work on while others were nearly impossible or impassable. The creation of this conceptual body of work echoed a solo creative practice, which is filled with doubts, anxieties, exhilaration, surprise, fear, and ultimately joy. In the end, everyone came through.
Over eight months, the 16 works on paper circulated in a prescribed order until everyone had worked on each piece. Here is the zine that we made for our exhibition.
“Route, Rut, Lane: A Karkhana Collaboration”
Shoebox Projects, Los Angeles, CA
S. Portico Bowman, Carlyn Clark, Johnny Fox, Margaret Lazzari, Luke Reichle, Chris Russell, Caryl St. Ama, Nancy Kay Turner.
See full exhibition PDF