“The practice of research, experimentation and repetition sometimes makes me feel like more of a scientist than an artist,” says Denver creative Meredith Feniak, whose “process-first” philosophy yields fine art, botanical illustrations, gilded embellishments, murals, installations and somatic art for residential, commercial and public spaces in Denver and around the world. Here, she tells us more about that practice—and where it leads.
What does it mean to you to be a process-based artist? I often start without the end in sight, knowing the meaning behind the work and what I want the viewer to feel, but rarely knowing what it will actually look like. After determining what I want to portray, I obsessively strive to understand and explore the materials and process until they guide the way.
What materials do you favor? Pure mediums are constants in my work. Gold leaf and charcoal are a common thread, as are the unusual organic substrates I prefer, including papers, wood panels, raw linen canvas and sheer silk. I am rarely happy with store-bought materials, usually because their production process is mysterious and I like to know how things are made.
Does that curiosity inform your work in other ways? All of my work has a scientific foundation, with botany at the forefront, but because our world is delicately interconnected, animals, insects, fungi, the celestial universe and humankind often find their way into my work. Current research on interspecies cooperation, which is simply restoring ancient knowledge, guides my current practice.