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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Grinnell Artists: Anne Rogers

Rogers, a third-year from Chicago, IL, has been incorporating clothing and laundry into her art of late. A lover of routine, she recently created clothes out of linen tablecloths and wore them for 65 days straight. Photo by Sarina Lincoln.

Anne Rogers ’19, a studio art and gender, women’s and sexuality studies double major, has made art all her life. The first artwork she remembers creating, in first grade, was a collage about a chair in which she felt safe. Now, she has exhibited work in BAX (Bachelor’s of Art Exhibition) and Smith Gallery and secured internships in papermaking and weaving, continuing to make art that she feels strongly about.

Even though she has always loved art and known that she wanted to do it, Rogers did not always feel like a life centered on art was possible.

“I went to a magnet high school that was pretty academically rigorous and I think there was this mindset that you couldn’t be successful unless you did well in a traditional academic setting, especially in STEM. I had no idea what it looked like to be an artist. I knew a few people who were artists but it just didn’t seem like it was going to work for me,” Rogers said.

However, when she came to Grinnell and took studio art classes, Rogers saw that being a serious artist was more possible than she thought.

“There was this combination of me figuring out that there were things that I wanted to be making that were actually really important to me, and also meeting and talking to lots of people who are artists, like lots of artists come here for talks and judge BAX and also people who are students,” Rogers said.

Taking a sculpture class at Grinnell also served as an inspirational experience for Rogers.

“We used all these huge and dangerous woodworking tools and learned how to weld and we made things that were big and things that were really messy and people were making work that they cared about,” she said. “That was the semester I declared, and after that I took two studio art classes in the spring, I took Chemistry of Art and Drawing, and I feel like that period of time in my second year was just when I realized that this was what I wanted to be doing.”

Recently, Rogers has been making a lot of art that deals with laundry and paper. For 65 days, she wore the same clothes that she made out of linen tablecloths purchased at Second Mile thrift shop. Now she will work to make paper out of them, replicating the pre-industrial revolution process of making paper out of peasants’ linen rags. Any garments that she was not wearing she hung in BAX on hooks, which will eventually display the paper she makes out of the clothing.

Rogers explained her fascination with papermaking: “I’ve always really liked paper. I really like physical versus digital things and things that are handmade and find a lot of joy in making things by hand … and just feel like my interactions with the material world are always more satisfying than most other things.”

After she took Chemistry of Art in her second year at Grinnell, where students explored the process of making paper, Rogers did a summer internship at Cave Paper in Minneapolis, where she learned more about papermaking.

“I love the repetition, I love just doing something with my body that’s satisfying. It’s also just, like, handmade paper is beautiful and nice to touch and it’s just good as an object,” she said.

Rogers’s interest in laundry carries over to her other piece exhibited at BAX: two stacks of laundry made from hollow ceramics.

“They look like clothes and I think that was exciting because I made this thing that totally transformed the material and also that felt important to me,” Rogers said.

Rogers explained her current love for laundry: “I’m really interested in routine, and also I just love clothing, not in a way that it’s like I love wearing it as much as clothing as an object, I just feel like it’s really beautiful and tender and sort of comforting … I feel like routine is often seen as the last thing that you’d want to be doing and this huge chore and this thing that is just bad and annoying. But I feel like thinking about it that way isn’t super productive, because it’s always gonna be there and you’re gonna always have to do it, and if you can find a way to enjoy it and appreciate it, that will make your life a lot easier.”

Rogers’ other recent projects include documenting every object she brings to CERA with dye made from walnuts she found there and onions she ate at home, and a project where she drew her room onto curtains that she then hung in her room, playing with what people could and could not see.

An artist coming into her own, it will be exciting to see how Rogers’ work will evolve.

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