The inimitable Anne Lemanski talks life in the mountains, ‘gin and tonic season,’ and her epic life-size tiger on a ball

Multidisciplinary artist Anne Lemanski, based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, creates everything from two-dimensional collage to three-dimensional sculptures. An artist of the natural world, she focuses on the complex, sometimes tense relationship between humans and animals, and her work is part of the Mint’s permanent collection. Here, she shares her favorite creation to date, how her mountain life influences her work, and the way Mother Nature always “will take care of business.”

Studio location: Blue Ridge Mountains, NC


Describe the artwork you create and medium your use

I make sculpture that is constructed by hand stitching a skin, often paper, unto a copper wire framework. I also transform small hand-cut collages into large format digital prints.

 

Who are artists that inspire you and your work?

Joseph Cornell is always a go-to when I need a pick me up. Contemporary peers whose work I greatly admire include Adonna Khare, Josie Morway, Walton Ford, Hilary Pecis, Alex Dodge. I also find kindred spirit in quilts and folk art.

 

What is your favorite piece or artwork that you created and why?

To date, it is Tigris T-1, a life size tiger balancing on a ball. It was an engineering feat. I wanted it to be freestanding, and it is. I also love the color and pattern of the skin, which consists of a print that I created using straws. It has many cultural references without being specific.

How does your environment influence your art?

I live and work in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I see something in nature on almost a daily basis that is beautiful, surprising, or even tragic. I am hyper-tuned to my immediate surroundings. There is really no separation between the way I live my life and my artwork.

 

Tell us about your morning routine right now. 

My morning routine is the same: coffee and the New York Times.

 

Are you finding new inspiration for your art during this shift of perspective in the world?

No. I have been raising alarm via my artwork regarding environmental issues and the exploitation of resources and man’s impact on the earth for years. Eventually, Mother Nature will take care of business.

Tell us about your afternoon. Are you working from home, going to your studio?

My studio is right next to my house, so my routine hasn’t really changed. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate.

 

What positive perspective changes in society would you like to see come from the pandemic?

I’m a bit of a pessimist, so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself for now.

 

How are you winding down your day? Have any recommendations for stress relievers to settle after another day done?

In my house, gin and tonic season has officially started.

 

What are you cooking? What’s your comfort food of choice?

My cooking habits haven’t changed. Last night I made a delightful asparagus and mushroom risotto. We make everything from scratch, and that won’t change. My favorite comfort food is fettuccine alfredo with homemade pasta.

 

What are you currently reading?

The news. I listen to audiobooks when I work, but I am not currently listening to any.