Tracie Noles-Ross has been selected as the 2017 Featured Artist of Moss Rock


By Emily Reed
Photos Contributed

Tracie Noles-Ross has spent her life creating things, whether it was weaving blades of grass together, sewing clothes for her sister’s dolls, or eventually creating works of art that tell various stories.

Being an artist is her way of life, and through her art she connects with those around her.

“If it is nature study, literature or history, art allows me to remain a student of the world and gives me permission to study anything and everything that interests me,” Noles-Ross says. “I am a perpetual learner! And, even though I am not a very social person, I have found a way, through my art, to connect with folks around me through my stories.”

Noles-Ross was selected to be the Featured Artist of the 2017 Moss Rock Festival, Nov. 4-5 at The Preserve in Hoover.

“As the 12th Eco-creative festival launched its yearly search for a dynamic artist whose work would harmoniously complement MRF’s collaborative synergy between art and nature, Tracie’s name kept rising to the top,” Alex Kunzman, co-director of the Moss Rock Festival says. “Her artwork has been on our minds for years, but circumstances were not ripe for her participation until now. If you know Tracie, you’re keenly aware of the symbiotic relationship she has with nature that permeates her art, creative energy, home, connections, passions and routines. Living in tandem with nature has become key to her every day and is a bond that she constantly strives to document, understand and translate into her work. It is sustenance, knowledge and a way of life for her and her family.”

The Birmingham resident uses her art, which includes a range of paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures and sewing, to include an element of storytelling.

“I like to use a good fantastical tale as a way to get my viewer thinking,” Noles-Ross says. “I try to weave elements of classic fairy tales with my fascination with philosophy and nature and see what comes out in the end. There is a thread running through all of my work that is about observational living and awareness of place and self in the context of that place. There are ribbons running through a lot of my new work, and that ribbon is a metaphor for interconnectedness––and a reminder that we are bound to the natural world––not separate or above it.”

Noles-Ross is hoping to potentially explore a new-narrative with her art about the responsibility everyone has to each other and the planet.

“As things get more challenging in the world these days, I feel my work heading in a new direction,” Noles-Ross says. “I keep thinking about how we humans don’t see that our disrespect for the planet is also a sort of disrespect of self.”

Most days Noles-Ross spends time in her studio, which she built at her home, after converting a two-car garage to the space where she paints, sews and works on ceramics, among other things.

The images Noles-Ross creates explore a “precariousness of our relationship as humans, to nature and conjure a world that feels a little like a dark fairy tale,” Noles-Ross’ website states. “Closely observed images of plants, animals, birds and insects, layered with personal narratives, invoke a sense of connection and responsibility to nature, placing us humans in the thickety brambles and hedges of the mysterious wild places where we won’t always feel we belong. Using found objects and materials, many from the five acres of land where she lives, she creates fantastic mixed media imagery that tells stories of mystery and reverence.”

Noles-Ross often gains inspiration for her art by what she describes as “living.”

“I spend a lot of time outdoors,” she says. “I listen to music––but not as much as I did in the studio when I was younger. I have found poetry at this point in my life and am really inspired by many poets and their work. I am fascinated by science and geek out on anything to do with space, but also geek out studying spiders and caterpillars and moths in my back yard. It is all connected.”

Other artists Noles-Ross admires include a list of Kiki Smith Abdoulaye Konate, Anne Hamilton, Do Ho Suh, James Baldwin, Chiharu Siota, Enrique Martínez Celaya, Wendell Berry, Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Cornell, Carl Sagan, Walton Ford, E.O. Wilson, Zoe Keating, YoYo Ma, Mary Oliver and Cai Guo Qiang.

Those interested in viewing her art can find it this fall at Naked Art Gallery in Birmingham where it will be in conjunction with Bare Hands and the Dia de los Muertos festival.

Noles-Ross also has a few pieces of art available to view at the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, she plans to take new work to the Jaybird space in Crestwood, will hang some pieces at Forstall Art Supply space, and will have plenty of work available at the Moss Rock Festival.

Her work can also be viewed at Tracienolesross.com, which has a link to her Etsy shop, which she will add work to as the holiday season approaches.