Art Faculty Summer Projects Q&A: Therese Zemlin, Chair in Art

Q: Did you work on any personal projects over the summer?

A: “I was invited to participate in ‘The Books in Extremis,’ an exhibition of work related to book arts that was at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. That was a lot of fun to go and install the piece “The Nine Dragons” that I had in the faculty show last year and that was based on a scroll from the Museum of Fine Arts. I’ve also been making tetrahedrons out of tree branches. I started out making tetrahedrons out of birch twigs. I spend my [summers] in a little cabin way up in the Northwoods in northern Minnesota. It’s on a little stream and it’s in the middle of a birch grove, and there are birch sticks everywhere on the ground. I’ve used them before, so I started picking them up and making these tetrahedrons out of them with the idea that I was combining these two different systems. I was combining this almost artificial system of the tetrahedrons – where they’re artificial but they’re based on natural molecular structure – with the more nuanced and sophisticated and complex system, in a way, of the branching of tree branches.”

Q: If you had to pick a favorite project from the summer, what would it be?

A: “I think the tetrahedrons were probably the most valuable because it’s the one that’s going to continue beyond now. But getting as far as I did this summer is going to keep the momentum going on this project for the rest of the year, so I’ve got some of my own art making active while I’m also teaching, and for me that is crucial. It is really important for me to be an artist who teaches.”