Studio Insights: Chris Dahlquist
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Studio Insights: Chris Dahlquist


Welcome to the Olson-Larsen Galleries artist family,
Chris Dahlquist!

We are very excited to add Chris to our roster of talented artists! If you have ever strolled around the Des Moines Arts Festival, you have probably heard of or seen Chris's beautiful work before. She is a pleasure to work with and we hope you enjoy her artwork as much as we do. Watch the video below about Chris's history and keep scrolling to learn about the two bodies of work you can find in the gallery, Measuring Abundance and Ghost Notes.

Chris Dahlquist Headshot 

Dahlquist-Quadrat A
Quadrat A: Investigation - Air

Measuring Abundance

In this new series Measuring AbundanceI continue my practice of utilizing materials, layers, texture, and the mark of my hand to further the story of the photographs I have captured. For this body I am using semi-translucent acetate over a traditional rag paper, obscuring details and adding marks created both digitally and by hand. 

This series is informed by a recent consulting project where I was tasked with measuring the value of artists and the arts using data and graphs and responding to my new involvement in a real estate world where the discussion is regarding both cost and income per square foot or value per acre. But in this type of accounting, how do we measure the value of something that can’t be quantified? When society is busy doing a cost benefit analysis, how do we measure abundance? The sky? The wind? Silence? Time to be alone with our thoughts?

Quadrat: a tool for measuring abundance.

quadrat is a frame, traditionally square, used in ecology and geography to isolate a standard unit of area for study of the distribution of an item over a large area.

Dahlquist-Quadrant D
Quadrat D: Investigation - Disturbance

Ghost Notes

The underlying visual reference that runs through all the bodies of work I have created, including Ghost Notes, is the international photography movement known as Pictorialism, which was prevalent from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries. This photographic movement aligned itself very closely with painters, aiming to “create” rather than simply “take” photographs. Visually Pictorialism had much in common with the Tonalist painters of the same time period, and this influence is very apparent in both my Ghost Notes series as well as my Mile Marker series. The mark of my hand can be found throughout all of my work making each work unique despite it’s photographic origins; similarly the Pictorialists used what they called “ennobling processes” to create original pieces that were sometimes mistaken for drawings or lithographs. 

The title of this body is a reference to a musical term. In music, ghost notes are notes that are played but not meant to be heard, with their presence by contrast amplifying the notes around them. 

Strength                                                                Shapes and Stories

Works in the Ghost Notes series are multi-layered pieces with a foundational photograph, archival pigment ink, cold wax, washi paper, rag paper. They are simultaneously haunting and beautiful. 

Chis has her hands in so many facets of the arts. She is an advocate, consultant, educator, and creator. Chris has partnered with Kansas City, MO, the Kansas City Economic Development Council and AltCap: Alternative Capital for Community Impact to develop and launch the first artist centered micro-lending program in the country. Most recently, she developed the Creative Economy Initiative for Bravo Greater Des Moines, a comprehensive action plan for the support of individual artists living and working in the Des Moines area.


08/25/2020 3:23 PM |Add a comment
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