Nadine Meyer is an artist living near Westport, originally from Bavaria, Germany. She talks about the beauty of found objects and giving attention to the ordinary.
What materials are integral in your work?
For me, it just makes sense to use materials which are there, which already exist. In my assemblage works I use manmade disposed materials like scraps of metal, plastic, wood, and fabric. Things nobody wants, nobody feels responsible for anymore. Things I find in everyday life in carparks, loading zones, and on the beach. I like things showing the beauty of imperfection and I assemble them following certain design criteria.
On the other hand, I also like to use natural objects, hints of life, things showing the never-ending diversity nature creates. Both, the natural and the man-made materials, interest me for the same reason: because they were all part of something bigger, had a purpose, a meaning once, but now they are lost. In my works, I try to give them a meaning so they can become something again, be part of something bigger again.
What role does the artist have in society?
I think “the artist” can have many roles. For example they can design, decorate the world surrounding us. Most of the things we’re using in everyday life are not only functional but designed by artists.
I’m giving art workshops so I think an artist can also help give other people access to the arts by sharing knowledge and expertise in specific techniques. And of course artworks have always been witnesses of the time they were created in.
What themes do you pursue? Or what themes keep reoccurring in your work, and why?
I like to show the beauty of the world surrounding us, especially the beauty of the little things we don’t acknowledge in everyday life, and the beauty of imperfection. At the same time, I want to bring attention to today’s global problems of pollution, waste, and the consequences this has for nature and for us humans.
Do you collect anything?
Well, as an assemblage and object artist, collecting is a big part of my work. Apart from collecting rubbish, sticks and stones, and other interesting curiosities from nature, I would say I‘m collecting old and beautiful things in general. I love visiting antique shops and op-shops: old maps and books, piano notes, silver cutlery, old frames, furniture, kitchen and garden utensils. I always find it so very exciting and interesting. It is not important for me which time it is from and if I really need it. I just like having those old, beautiful and interesting things around me. Again, things which have stories to tell.
How do you organise, plan, and prioritise your work?
I work in waves. My ideas evolve over time. I might try out different combinations of materials, different compositions and colour schemes, but in general it takes a long time until I’m satisfied with one combination. As a mum of a three-year-old it’s of course not always easy to find the time to work on all those ideas I have.
My weekly routine includes already one day volunteering in our little local gallery, one day in town giving my workshop “Self Reflection Through Art”, and during the summer I‘m selling my linocut and drypoint prints every Sunday at the Fox River Market. Keeping up the stock and making new prints keeps me quite busy for the rest of the week. So during the summer, I’m definitely prioritising my printmaking, but I’m stocking up my assemblage materials at all times; on quieter days will come to work with them.
Where were you 3 hours ago?
I was giving a one day workshop “Introduction to Printmaking” in Westport. It was a wonderful day with lovely people and nice outcomes. After learning about the history of printmaking supported by examples from art history and my own works, the participants were carving their own blocks and printing them on cards and tags. I just love to watch the process of people immersing in the technique, getting more and more confident and trying out different new ways of printing in colour, rotating the printing block or making patterns with it.
Money is no object. Which priceless artwork do you buy?
Hmm. I think I would choose something really old, a work of the Old Masters from Europe.
I always felt kind of a connection to Albrecht Dürer. He was German artist who lived and worked in Nuremberg, a town not far from my hometown in Bavaria. He was a master of painting and printmaking of the Renaissance and I share my fascination for nature and animals with him. His watercolour painting The Great Piece of Turf from 1503 would probably my choice. First: having a painting that old on your walls would just be incredibly impressive! And then: at the time he painted it, it was basically an intellectual revolution to give attention to something as ordinary as a bunch of weeds growing on turf. He painted those interweaving grasses, herbs and leaves in such a meticulous and realistic way that this ordinary piece of nature becomes something beautiful, something special. Dürer also saw the beauty in the little, unnoticed things which surround us in our every day lives.
In 5 words, describe the colour yellow to somebody who is blind.
Warm, loud, sour, bright, exciting.