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Ann Trondson:
Hours and Images, Words and Days

“Sometimes I just need to make work, and this process lets me go.” That’s probably the most straightforward description any artist has ever offered about their motivation, and for Ann Trondson — the 2022 Magic City Art Connection Distinguished Artist — this candid statement couldn’t be truer.

At first glance, that would be a seemingly straightforward approach to The Day Series, her new body of work begun on August 1, 2021. Since then, every Monday through Friday, Trondson has made a collage, piecing together fragments from the Sunday edition of New York Times, her paper of record, before carefully piecing and composing what could best be thought of as a visual depiction of that maelstrom of news we’re immersed in every day. And for Trondson, the paper is also much more. More than a record of each previous week’s events, more than what she describes as like Joan Didion’s treasure map. Her collages, framed in a visual window — well, actually the outline of a piano, but more on that in a moment — are a visual slow burn, sunrises and sunsets, passages of time, ink fading on surfaces, cracking, yellowing, fading, but for the fact that she’s collected and captured some of these moments, these stories, these ideas.

There is much to be said about The Day Series, in part because in the act of tearing inspiration from the paper and adding imagination’s order, Trondson takes something that shouldn’t be connected in anything more than the most incidental ways (today’s news, tomorrow’s fish wrapper), and makes each piece a necessary part of the puzzle.

And the piano…take a moment to ask her about Brian Wilson or take the time to look at the vastness and depth of her body of work, and you’ll find serial manifestations of the artist, the advocate, the athlete, the academic. Each a step in an interconnected direction, an assertion of patience, of persistence. Maybe the greatest aspect of The Day Series, what connects artist and viewer the most, is that Trondson’s works are physical, tangible, connected. Of course, there’s always the question of all is one and one makes all, the idea that each day of The Day Series is both the same as the one before and the one after, and at the same time something else entirely. It’s not about the idea of the day, the scientific measure now categorized arbitrarily to meet some moment from an ancient empire. No, The Day Series is an assertion of hope, of belief that there will be new material next Sunday, that in the process of fragmentation her understanding of our shared experiences and her ability to map small moments will come alive in every differentiation of the gradient just like you could, perhaps, pause to imagine the potential of each future day. Ann Trondson is — just before she focuses the power of her creativity to summon the creativity of tomorrow into the fragments she perceives from the stories of our days.

– Essay by Brett M. Levine, Ph.D.

Join us the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark April 22-24 for a special exhibition of selected works from Ann Trondson’s The Day Series. If you wish to purchase a piece from the series, visit Ann’s website shop.

Read about MCAC’s Distinguished Artist Award, Ann’s selection, and past award honorees on our recent blog post.

41st Annual MCAC

April 26-28, 2024