Art:Put my Pressing Into a Ravine Where I Paused to Return Year After Year — Gregory Euclide
Gregory Euclide grew up in rural Minnesota and much of his art is inspired by the natural surroundings of the Minnesota River Valley where he lives and has taught high school for 18 years.
"I love the realism of Gregory's work—the landscape painting elements are beautiful. Experiencing his art is like taking a walk in the woods on the edge of town rather than viewing a pretty picture on a wall," said Jodi Lundgren, exhibition curator at the SDAM.
Euclide's work has been featured in publications including Art News, Sculpture Magazine, Art Ltd., Hi Fructose, McSweeney'sQuarterly Concern and Juxtapoz. He also created the very Wisconsin cover art for Bon Iver’s Grammy-winning self-titled album and exercise in seclusion.
SDPB caught up with Gregory Euclide to talk Midwest inspirations.
SDPB: What if corn or wheat fields could tweet?
GE: They would probably be really boring. Mostly because they are all clones... genetically modified to behave with a certain form of crop discipline. The organic farms would probably be a riot. There would be diversity. If I wanted to hear what a corn field in South Dakota had to say I would just go to Monsanto’s feed.
SDPB: How does your experience as a teacher affect the way you approach your art?
GE: When I teach, I have to think about how one experiences art. I have to think about how art can be meaningful to a 15 year old. In my practice as an artist I am concerned with making the work not only conceptually sound, but also interesting to look at.
SDPB: Can you think of a particular way the cold months inspire you?
GE: The cycles of life and death that exist in the Midwest have always been a powerful thing for me to witness. In the Winter there is a longing for Spring but also a sense of slowing down — a stillness. Then, after that rest, there is a serious explosion of energy, noise and color in the Spring. That change is something most of us love.
SDPB: Where would you like to walk?
GE: Anywhere with a breeze and low humidity... anywhere. I find walking to be a way of gathering images and information. The pace is very conducive to obtaining details and discovering nuance.
SDPB: Do you have any experience of South Dakota?
GE: I have driven through South Dakota many times and have done the typical tourist spots. My love of South Dakota comes from its land. It is the first sign of the Midwest I know. After coming from the West, it is the first sign of greens you see. As you move East the greens get more and more intense and varied. It is a very beautiful place.
SDPB: What’s the very best thing to see outside a window?
GE: Green, lots of green. No people, no buildings, no mines, no farm fields… just lots of diverse organisms interacting the way they have for however many millions of years before we came here. I would like to see that, but for everyone to see that, it would mean no cell phones, no computers, no cars, and no houses. So, there needs to be a thoughtful compromise and we are apparently not capable of that right now. It will take dire consequences and suffering in order for people to really change their minds about the way we use the world around us.
Unframing Lands View is on display through January 30. You can also see some of Gregory Euclide's work at the Washington Pavilion's Visual Arts Center in Sioux Falls.