Past Exhibition dates: September 12, 2021 – October 17, 2021
Artist: Colleen Steenhagen
Since photography has always been a source of inspiration for her and a means of meditatively exploring nature, Colleen Steenhagen often finds herself walking along the timeless shores of Lake Michigan. In addition to the waves and the clouds, her eyes also fall upon the many “gifts” left at the water’s edge: rocks, rust, feathers, bones, beach wood and glass, anything torn, tattered and weathered.
She gathers bags and boxes of found materials from the beaches, intrigued by the altered remnants which have been transformed by the elements. She “creates from them and with them, as if directed by some gentle force to see what’s unseen and to give them a new life,” resulting in the emergence of Little Spirits, Story Stones and Wands, and abstract compositions.
“I see it as co-creating with nature, dissolving boundaries of time and place.” Colleen is a mixed media artist who likes to blend her found objects with photography, fabric, ink and wax, in collage, assemblage, or mobile forms.
As a gatherer and collector, Colleen loves to display her creative pieces and her found treasures around her home and studio in mini-still life fashion or spread about on tables and shelves for hours of viewing pleasure. This show will allow you to view her assemblages and photos set among pieces from her ever expanding collection of natural or vintage shop oddities.
Colleen began her university studies at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI and then at the University of New Orleans. Before she obtained her degree, her life path shifted and she began traveling the world to countries such as Guatemala, Nepal, India, and Thailand. Always with camera in hand, she intensely observed different cultures and different lands. Two decades later after owning a storefront in Kenosha for seven years, she changed her path once again and returned to school at UW-Parkside where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Arts: Sculpture, Photography, and Printmaking. One of her sculptures, a movable, metal flower, “Blossom,” is on permanent display on the grounds of UW-Parkside in Kenosha.