Kim Eichler-Messmer worked as an artist-in-residence at Prairieside Outpost in May 2017. Her typical studio practice is based in fiber arts, quilting and natural dyes for fabrics. While at Prairieside Outpost, Kim focused on her new paintings which explore juxtapositions within human-made and natural environments. Kim exhibited a large body of these new paintings in the fall of 2017 at The Bank Artspace in Matfield Green, Kansas, in a two-person exhibition with Laura Berman titled The Space Between.
This past May I was fortunate enough to spend nearly a week at the Prairieside Outpost and Cottage. My goal for my time there was to gather inspiration from the landscape to fuel my paintings and quilts. I spent a large portion of every day exploring the area around Matfield Green. I spent a day hiking at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, where I took a picnic lunch and my watercolor supplies. A six mile hike to the scenic outlook was extended by at least a mile when I spotted a few bison on the trail on my way back to the visitor center and had to make a detour around them.
I also spent a day exploring Cottonwood Falls, Strong City, and Chase State Fishing Lake. The lake was peaceful and quiet. For a while, I was the only person there and it was the exact experience I had been looking for.
Most of what I made during my stay at the cottage was experimental and didn't make it past the sketching phase. The first image, below, is a collage I made during my stay. The other three paintings were made once I was back home, trying to remember the sights, sounds, and smells of the prairie.