Refuge Journal 14

Feb 02 2018

Co-founders Cory Chisel and Adriel Denae were recently in Glasgow, Scotland for the 25th Celtic Connections festival, a celebration of celtic music in the UK. Above is a photo of Adriel from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Ben Geyer

Artist in Residence

Ben Geyer is a painter who grew up here in Appleton, taught at Renaissance School of the Arts for a semester, went on a farming sabbatical traveling from farm to farm for 10 years, and then moved back to Wisconsin in April.

Ben uses art as an incredible catalyst to have conversation; it never ends, and there is choice in what one sees. He is breaking away from specificity of shapes, allowing anyone to walk in to the piece and interpret it. “There is no wrong answer in art; art means anything is possible.” He describes looking at a blank canvas as a freedom, a way of looking at the periphery of self, begging the question, ‘Who am I?’ There is always opportunity for new growth and to be reminded how much joy there is participating in creation.”

As a farmer, Ben loves to incorporate nature in the way that he views his art. Nature doesn’t rush, this is an art of slowing down and figuring out how to use art as a medicine to lift negativity out of the self. He compares art to diving in to the center of a seed, containing the creative elements necessary for survival and nourishment. “You make art because there’s a fire in you. We incorporate what we know to define what we are seeing. When we see what we don’t know, it is an invitation to wonder, and through that wonder we express ourselves.”

This winter Ben chose to take the opportunity to see what would happen with his new artistic creative space at the Refuge. In the past he felt limited by clean up and take down of his work, but now that he has a studio there is an unlimited and ongoing process that allows him to let works evolve and not feel forced. Ben likes to explore floral aspects of color. “The Refuge gives people the opportunity to rework ideas and clear your head space, using art as a form of medicine.”

Ben will be showing some of his art at The Draw in March; stay tuned for more details!