Featured Artist: Meredith Birch

16 Oct

Meet Meredith Birch, an artist who generously shares her dedication, knowledge and passion for art making with her students. Meredith is a perfect fit with Festival Fete because of our common goal and commitment to make art available to everyone in the community.

Extending the classroom into the community helps to make connections between local programs, businesses, and museums, allowing open communication and learning opportunities” says Meredith.

This may be because she has been making art for as long as she can remember. She grew up within an arts culture and is constantly looking for new learning opportunities… “the act of creation has always been a powerful outlet for me to express myself, learn and experiment”.

Meredith is  a full-time art teacher for a nonprofit working with at risk youth. She is also the owner of Birch Fine Art Studio, which offers artwork, private classes, workshops and art parties. She describes her artwork as “an exploration of the various experiences we have throughout our lives. In my work, I use bold color, movement, contrast and symbolism to tell a story of an emotional journey. In painting these moments I am able to capture the essence of the perceived emotion. I have found that through this process I am able to appreciate it more; release it or take away a bit of knowledge to build upon in the future. In sharing my work, mutual connections are made and new stories are experienced.”

I asked Meredith makes her artwork unique, and she replied,

That’s a great question and one I as myself a lot. I would say that the reasons behind my work and how I represent them makes my work unique. For instance, in my tree series, like many before me, I use the tree as a symbol of life and the bold mood evoking background is the emotional story told for that life.  For example, in my painting “Fire in the Belly” I created a deep red, orange and yellow watercolor background to show the passionate energy one gets when they have “Fire in the Belly” and paired that with the tall vertical branches of the matte black tree showing power and resilience.

In my color series I use the pairing of color and brush strokes to convey a feeling. For example, in my painting “Waves” I used predominately blues with bold colored lines and blots to represent the waves of life, meaning our ups and our downs. The brush strokes are also in swirls which illustrate what water might do when the waves are coming in off the shore.

In addition to working full time, running her art studio, teaching enrichment classes, creating her own paintings to exhibit, she has painted murals and backdrops for school plays, and volunteered with ArtWorks!

I always find it interesting to talk with artists about their inspirations and mentors, and Meredith referenced both her contemporaries and a few of the “masters”:

I really enjoy viewing work from local artists in New Bedford and Tiverton to see what others are doing. There is great work being made in these areas. I find inspiration from my father and stepmother, both practicing artists. The main influences (or inspirations) in my work are cultivated from my life experiences; what I see, hear, touch, taste and feel on a daily basis. In my current work, Vincent Van Gogh’s use of expressive color and Gustav Klimt’s symbolism are also significant. The Tree of Life, by Gustav Klimt was particularly influential in the tree series for his use of the tree as a symbol of life and vitality.

Meredith’s art work is currently shown and sold through the Sakonnet Collective Gallery and Etsy. She will also be at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market on December 1st and 2nd at Garden City Center.

Many thanks to our sponsor

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