Clockwise From Top Left:
I’m Knitting Green (2011): Knitted scarves by Mercy, age 75 with Alzheimer's, wooden shelf, gold silk yarn, poem, and chalk. 8.5' x 4' x 18', variable on the floor
Mercy, 75, is living with Alzheimer’s and loves to knit. Her son, my friend and colleague, gave me these scarves as an artist’s gift. For Mercy knitting has become her daily work. She may not remember other parts of her beautiful life, but she remembers how to knit. This piece is accompanied by the poem "Unraveling" by Pamela Nomura. Pam wrote this poem about Mercy even before I held the scarves in my hands. The poem is presented on the floor written in chalk where the natural activity within the gallery gradually wears away the transcribed words.
Seven (2014): Prints on vellum, trays, graphite and roses. 15” x 46"
Artist Anita Balkun
Attic Avalanche (2014): Site specific installation for the Hartford Public Library. Packing peanuts, garbage bags, cereal box liners, found wire basket. 10’ x 6’, variable on the floor.
I made a request on Freecycle for additional packing peanuts to fill out the gallery installation of Self Storage, and received an offer from a Freecycle member in West Hartford. He had many bags to give away out of his attic if he could convince his wife to let them go. With her consent and his generosity, I hit the jackpot! The original garbage bags that stored their packing peanut stash create the ceiling vortex. This piece is also inspired by fiber artist Sheila Hicks’ art installations.
Grocer's Dilemma (2013): Polystrapping, aluminum foil, antique scale and push pins. 96" x 44" x 84" variable on the floor
Installation made from up-cycled materials and found objects, held together only by the tension between the pushpins that secure it to the wall. This piece evolved from an abundance of found materials. When I asked two grocers at Shop Rite to collect poly strapping for another artwork, their zealous spirits gathered up more than I needed. How could I refuse such a gift? The need for material accumulation sprouted their determination that evolved into my statement of interlacing order and chaos, abundance and overflow - one leading into the other.
Editorial Tapestry (2012): commissioned site specific installation for City Wide Open Studios (CWOS) sponsored by Artspace New Haven Newspaper, construction fencing, and polystrapping (interactive). 4’ x 160’
CWOS presented their weekend of installation artists in the old New Haven Register Building in October 2012. Editorial Tapestry was created to fit around the upper railing adjacent to the huge dormant printing presses. I used up-cycled newspapers (mostly collected through FreeCycle), cut into strips and woven into construction fencing. The weaving created a rhythmic patterning of color and texture, telling it’s own visual story from area newspaper fragments (NH Register, Hartford Courant, Boston Globe, New York Times, etc.). Viewers were invited to write on additional paper strips and weave them into the installed Editorial Tapestry over the period of the weekend show. Their interaction with the tapestry extended the visual story based on random activity.
Embedded Breath (2014): Lace bodice, hand stitching, rust prints, metal bed, torn pillowcases. 38" x 32" x 20"
This vintage lace piece belonged to my husband’s grandmother and was intended to become a nightgown. It is stitched onto rust-printed paper so that it ‘merges’ with its flexible support and hovers above the folded bed. For me, creativity often takes place in the space between sleeping and awakening, where my mind is free to flow between dreams and reality. Daily routines, chores, and the physical things we possess often hold us back or lock us to the earth. Imagination floats above all that and keeps us open to the creative possibilities. We can fall into bed, releasing the “sigh” of the weight of the day, waiting for the awareness, somewhere between these states of alertness, to overtake us.
Anita Balkun working at Attic Avalanche Installation, 2014
Anita Gangi Balkun approaches emotion and visual story telling through mixed media and installation media. Her work incorporates sensory experiences to spark memory and she often uses her extensive background in textiles as a touchstone. Found objects become the catalyst that inspires Balkun’s interactive installations and assemblages, and the viewer’s participation becomes an extension of the visual story. The presence of these collected artifacts in her creative process recalls associations to a sense of place, identity and history. The artwork articulates the quiet beauty, grace and playfulness discovered within the transformation of familiar objects.
Balkun received her M.F.A. in painting from the University of Hartford in 2009, under the mentorship of Stephen Brown.
A B.A. in Studio Art from Central Conn. State University and a B.A. in Economics from Fairfield University preceded this degree.
Balkun currently participates in a mentorship critique with Barbara Grossman and completed a studio residency at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in 2012. She was also commissioned to create installations for City Wide Open Studios 2012, sponsored by ArtSpace New Haven, and for PARK(ing) Day Hartford 2013 & 2014, sponsored by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Knox Parks Foundation. Balkun teaches at the Greater Hartford Academy of Art, and has her studio and home in West Hartford, Connecticut.