by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Stepping off the plane from Norway, Sif Ankergård carried none of her artworks-in-progress and none of the art supplies she’d use to create new works in the coming weeks. That's as she liked it: During her first visit to America, she aimed for a clean slate, so she could create fresh art that genuinely reflected the conversations, people and materials that awaited.
Ankergård had come to Dickinson College as the 2018 Sylvia J. Smith '73 Artist-in-Residence, serving a six-week residency that included classroom visits, critiques and regular Monday-to-Friday hours in a dedicated on-campus studio. Established in 2007, the Sylvia J. Smith program invites students and faculty members from different disciplines to interact directly with an up-and-coming working artist, while offering the artist the time and space to create new works. At the end of the residency, the artist shares those works through an on-campus exhibition and adds one work to a growing Goodyear collection of art by students, faculty and visiting guests.
A 2015 graduate of the masters of fine art program at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design (Norway), Ankergård was born in Denmark and earned a B.A. in fine art from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, Netherlands. She’s served multiple residencies and presented solo and group shows in Europe. She also publishes Page, an annual magazine that frames writing as works of visual and literary art.
Photo by Carl Socolow '77.
Ankergård's current focus is an ongoing project exploring high- and low-art representations of landscapes and what it means to be a landscape painter today; this body of work includes painting, video, fiber arts, performance art, writings, sculptural works and mixed media. She's created approximately 40 works for this collection since the beginning of 2018.
“I work a lot, so I keep up with my own thought processes,” she says, noting that she then selects the finest works for inclusion in her I Wish I Were a Landscape Painter project, “so there’s room for experimentation.”
That experimental spirit was on display at Dickinson, as the artist created works with pillows from a local building-supply store. And, working in Dickinson's ceramics studio, Ankergård tackled a medium she'd never before explored, adding distinctive pieces to her ever-expanding body of work.
When not in the studio, Ankergård interacted with students and faculty inside and outside of class, and welcomed them into her Goodyear workspace. She also traveled with an architecture class to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and delivered individualized critiques to senior studio art majors’ studios as they prepare for their senior exhibition.
“We’re used to having our works critiqued by four or five professors, so hearing a new voice in our studio is really useful,” said Rowan Price ’18 (art & art history, environmental studies), who visited Ankergård’s studio several times over the past six weeks. “It helps us further understand how others experience our art.”
“It’s one thing to talk about [career] possibilities and another to see and interact with people who are out there, working outside of academia,” agrees Talia Amorosano '17, the studio-art department’s 2017-18 post-baccalaureate artist-in-residence, adding that it’s gratifying to learn that an up-and-coming working artist is grappling with some of the same questions and contradictions that she is, though from different angles. “You can use that as a jumping-off point.”
Published April 12, 2018