Ann McGriffin graduated summa cum laude, with a B.F.A. in Woodworking & Furniture Design, from Indiana University's Herron School of Art & Design, although her passion has evolved into painting. As a university student, she was a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, and a regular on the Dean's List.
Her work has been displayed in juried exhibitions in Florence Italy, Toronto, throughout the Midwest, Atlanta, GA., and is in private collections in the U.S., Australia, Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico.
Four yearsago I had become bored with my art and decided to challenge myself with something new. My self-imposed winter assignment in 2017 was to attempt to understand, and appreciate abstract art. Until this time, it held no interest for me whatsoever. So, I threw myself headlong into it.
I have found it to be a liberating space of action, color, layers, and self-examination. Each layer hides and reveals something that came before it…just like life. I consider myself to be an Emotional Archaeologist as I dig through the previous day’s work, scratching, eliminating, brushing, sifting, and adding more paint. Searching for primitive forces that I have overlooked in the physical world, and the excitement of the uncalculated results, motivates me. Although abstract art appears to be energetic and frenetic, creating it forces my racing brain to slow down.
As I search for the initial source of this inspiration, I think it stems from living on a farm for 8 years of my childhood. It was surrounded by old coal mining hills that created a labyrinth of copper, green, and blue water pits and pine covered hills dotted with an occasional arrowhead uncovered by rain. Life was an adventure immersed in nature, searching, digging, treasure hunts and wandering.
A recurring concept in my work (not all work, but often) is the seed, pod, or egg. The beginning of life. Rebirth. The ultimate mystery. It has been showing up for over 30 years, and continues to appear in my new abstract series. This is another connection to my farm experience. The emergence of life is in your face at all times. It is either happening, or it is preparing to happen as in a fallow field resting for winter.
A poem I read in my 20s lingers in my mind for all aspects of my life...
On a Seed by G.S. Galbraith (one stanza):
For this is the source of the root and the bud…world unto world unto world remolded.
This is the seed, compact of God, wherein all mystery is enfolded.
This mystery of life, the seed that holds the oak tree, the translucent ovum that contains half of an astronaut, the pollen clinging to a bee’s toes that ultimately feeds the world, all of this jumble of insane beauty and scientific awe that we only think we understand feeds my art.
If I had to label myself, I would say that I am a nature painter using the abstract approach to accentuate the mystery. At times I include fragments of my poetry, or words from dreams that can be a possible reference to the ancient mind. My goal is always to lead the viewer, and myself, into a new place. Ultimately, I would like to become an abstract painter of substance.
To me art does one of two things. It makes the real unreal, as in a portrait, landscape, or a still life. Or, it makes the unreal real, as in abstraction or surrealism brought to life for the first time.