Frankie Garr: Artist in Residence at Tall Pines Conservancy
February 1, 2021 | Topics: featured artist
The Natural Realm presents Frankie Garr, who is one of 17 artists participating in a year-long residency program called ARTservancy, a collaboration between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy, Tall Pines Conservancy, and the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. The mission of ARTservancy is to promote the visionary work of both the artists and conservationists. Each artist has selected a preserve to spend time in and to engage with.
Artist Statement by Frankie Garr
Friends tell me I notice what others overlook. I feel this is my gift as a photographer – having a keen sense of observation and vision. “Get Outside” has been my theme and gentle call to action – a way for me to illuminate the beauty of nature for others through the images I capture. It’s just one reason this ARTservancy residency, through Gallery 224, is the perfect union of my love and appreciation of the great outdoors and photography.
I recently discovered a new word, phenology: the science of noticing, which encapsulates what I do when I get outside. I listen to the wind through the trees and how they speak through their creaking branches, tall trunks and blowing leaves. I sense the quiet and feel the earth below me. It’s through these moments of being present and quiet observation where I capture either the light through the clouds, or the solo leaf blowing in the wind, the sap seeping through a tree, or ice creating its own art form.
My photography is a glimpse into my intuitive and sensitive nature. My images reflect a world infused with stories and snippets in time. I have a passion to travel, explore and simply be the seeker, the observer. A quote by an unknown author sums up my photographic philosophy, “You don’t TAKE a photography, you ask QUIETLY, to BORROW it.”
For my ARTservancy residency I am working with Tall Pines Conservancy (TPC), a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust focused on preserving the Lake Country region and beyond. They currently protect seven farms, as well as six open spaces and preserves.
I chose TPC because of the combination of preserves, watersheds and farms. It feels like part of who I am. My father had a 40-acre maple syrup farm in upstate Pennsylvania and simply loved being outside. I think his farming roots rubbed off on me. I look forward to working with TPC, serving the mission to preserve and protect the heritage of farmland, water resources and natural open spaces in the area. By using my gifts to observe and “borrow,” I will strive to awaken awareness in others who may or may not realize the treasures we have and the responsibility to preserve them for future generations.
I am currently in the exploring phase of my artist residency. I will visit the various properties within TPC throughout the seasons. Because of the diversity of the lands and work TPC is doing I am hoping a direction will organically rise to the surface as I walk the trails and farms. I have met virtually with the staff of TPC and they have expressed an interest in capturing the generational rural history of the farmlands. I am also very interested in trees.
A recent article in the New York Times Magazine (December 6, 2020) about how there is a social network in which trees communicate captured my attention. It’s fascinating science. So, the end result might be a combination of trees, observations of the little things, and the rural farmlands and how they are all interconnected through the eye of my lens. Stay tuned to see what unfolds as I walk the land.
Here’s a bit about my journey as a professional, journalist, and artist. As a young adult, I studied Journalism and Marketing. Pursuing a practical profession that played to my strengths, I settled on a career with a renowned printing company. While I thrived in my career, I also nurtured my avocation. Over the years I have taken classes and travel workshops in photography, practiced my craft and grew into a self-taught photographic artist. Until recently, my style of photography has been of a documentary style, often capturing people in their native culture. I have been fortunate to have traveled to over 30 countries and have deepened my love for exploration, learning, and photography. I have camped in Mongolia, cared for children in a Ugandan orphanage, hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, trekked most of the National Parks, and kayaked in Alaska. Along the way, I’ve noticed – and captured – what others overlook.
I recently “graduated” from a 35+ year career in journalism and printing with gratitude for rich relationships and continual opportunities to learn. I am looking forward to the next chapter, which will include more travel-related adventures, photography, and being outside. Following my “graduation,” I have taken advantage of the new opportunity to walk outside every day. Starting in November 2019, I have shot an image a day of what I see on my walks in nature, which I’ve posted on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #GetOutside.
I have exhibited at a f64 Gallery in Maryland and throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. I have been published in a book, Open to Interpretation: Love + Lust, juried by Aline Smithson; featured in New Letters, a literary book; as well as various annual reports, including Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin and LaCausa Charter School. My work is in a permanent collection at Le Rêve Patisserie & Café in Wauwatosa as well as several private collections.
For more information about Tall Pines Conservancy, click here.
This is the latest in our series of featured artists, which is intended to showcase the work of photographers, artists, writers and other creative individuals in our community whose subjects or themes relate in some broad sense to nature, urban nature, people in nature, etc. To see a list of previously featured artists, click here. The work of the 2019-2020 ARTservancy artists in residence is currently being exhibited monthly at Gallery 224. To meet the other ARTservancy artists in residence, click here.
All images courtesy of the artist, except the featured photo at the top of the page of the artist at Camp Quad with TPC Executive Director Susan Buchanan, which is by Eddee Daniel.