Ann McGriffin graduated summa cum laude, with a B.F.A. in Woodworking, 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~Ontario, throughout the Midwest, Atlanta, GA., and is in private collections in the U.S., Australia, Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico.
Ann was invited to join the International Guild of Figurative Art and participated in their group show in Toronto, Ontario, February 2011. She was in the juried Herron School of Art & Design Alumni Show, Coming Home, September 2011. The Cincinnati Museum Center's "A Day in Pompeii" juried art exhibit included Ann's work, in June 2012.
As an artist, I must always look at my art in terms of the collector who is subconsciously thinking “What’s in it for me?” A work of art can be many things: an investment, a spiritual connection, or merely something to enhance the look of a living space. Whatever the reason, an original work of art is a connection to another’s soul, be it the artist’s, or the person who wants to live with it. I will always tell anyone looking at art that what you see, or don’t see, will tell you as much about yourself as the artist who created it.
I have recently wandered into the world of abstract painting. It is a liberating space of action, color, and layers. 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, mentally labeling, and adding more paint. I am searching for primitive forces that I have overlooked in my physical life.
The Floating Series: I was raised as an only child on a farm in a remote area of southwestern Indiana. It was a magical land that helped me create a fantasy world for my rather isolated existence. Our farm was surrounded by old coal strip 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. One day, around age 11, while on a “safari” in this beautiful space I sat on the ground and leaned against a tree. I realized that the way I was sitting excluded my physical body from my visual field. My head was held high, my back was firmly planted against the tree, and my legs were folded yoga-style. In this position, I felt like two eyes floating and observing. I did not feel real. I had become a floating entity in a spirit world of the people who had gone before me. This quickly became a practice that I loved to do whenever possible. As a result of this experience, the fire of spirits now dissolved into nature have a floating presence in my work.
I might also add here that my nearby grandparents' farm house had a fantastic attic filled with relics of deceased relatives. One of my favorite things to do was go through the boxes filled with locks of hair, photos, musical instruments, toys, and clothes that my ancestors had touched. I could feel their presence floating around me. So my childhood was filled with wonder, awe, love, and respect for these people that I would never know, yet had a hand in who I am. Their life experience flowed in my blood, and I had lived in them before I was born. A few years back, while traveling in Italy, I read a Latin saying that pretty much summed it up for me: Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt? Where are those who went before us?...a meditation on the transience of life.
Although I have temporarily suspended my landscape work, I am still awestruck by a serene, colorful lay of land. What I see is what makes my landscapes different from another artist...not better, just different. When my eyes caress our earth I see labor, bounty, loss, success, love, pride, hope, and faith. I see a farmer pushing a little seed, with all the memory needed to create a plant or a tree, into the ground. From the front windows of our previous home, I could see White River bottom land that at one time was a fertile home for our original First Nation dwellers who had their land stolen from them by our government. The earth entombs every living thing that ever inhabited what we call our home, from millions of years ago to yesterday. It has provided us with a history that can be changed forever at this moment with the turn of a shovel, a new discovery that forever changes our perception of who we are as humans. All the animals, people, and geologic events before us made this life possible. I try never to forget this. It gives my life meaning and substance, because what I do will affect the future. In some ways it all seems invisible and my search for the unseen is what makes me paint. It’s about the invisible gifts handed to us each day: time, the fruits of wisdom, and mystery.