Abbey Blake is a visual artist from Northeast Ohio who works within printmaking, sculpture and fiber arts. Blake received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking and biomedical art from the Cleveland Institute of Art and a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking with minors in sculpture and ceramics from the University of Iowa. Blake is currently a professor of fine arts at Vermilion Community College in Ely, Minnesota.
As an artist, I am closely connected to materials. I imagine where they come from and how they are extracted and processed before they arrive in my studio. I think of these procedures to be metaphorical of our relationships with one another and I feel empathy when I consider our relationships with the landscape in the same way I am empathetic towards people. I grew up on the shores of Lake Erie near Cleveland, Ohio and I now live in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota east of Lake Superior. Both locations have seen the coming and going of the steel industry and have parted ways with millions of tons of materials ranging from iron ore, copper, nickel, salt and limestone that have contributed to our cities in both the United States and Canada.
For several years, I have been making work about land use, materials, and the maps and lines that make up our borders and boundaries. As a United States citizen, I have seen the notable difference between the southern and northern borders of my nation. The materials that are taken and transported by way of our shared waters and region connect us. Through creating work about this special region, I have spent time thinking about our ecosystems, economies and the natural resources of the Great Lakes. The works in this exhibition are the physical manifestations of those thoughts and concerns. I am celebrating our materials while considering our shared landscape and its contributions to the wealth and civility of our two nations.