ARTIST STATEMENT; Descendants
Le Ann Gehring-Ryan February 2015
The work in this show was completed between 2012 and 2015.
In 2012 Pat Beckmann approached me about doing a show about family and rural life. At that time my parents were both living on the family farm in southern Minnesota. My father was about to turn 90 years old, a major milestone. I feel fortunate that I was able to spend time with him talking about his time on ships during WW II, his drive through the Sequoia with his Uncle Charlie, his memories of his youth. Since that time my father passed away [August 18, 2013] and my soon-to-be 91 year old mother lives with her dog “Freckles”. Three, soon-to-be four, new family members have been born. The cycle of life continues.
The majority of my parent’s 64 year marriage was lived on the farm. They raised three children, my two older brothers and myself. My entire family attended one-room country schools for grades 1-6. We went to a nearby rural Norwegian church. When I was a child my Dad milked cows and my Mom raised chickens and calves and our family farmed the land. My brothers still farm the land.
In my youth, Sundays were days of rest. My Mother and I would do gentle things like look through old photo albums, examine and talk about the history of beautiful flowered handkerchiefs, look through the jewelry box and tell stories of where each piece came from. Reflections of this time were inspiration for this work.
I have used vintage photos of my family and observation of family items as resources for this body of work. The paintings are acrylic on canvas and cradled panels and mixed medium on canvas and cradled panels.