Alison Boteler, who documented her reaction to the Fairfield Public Library art exhibit on aging, wants to introduce to the world her mother, Charla Boteler, emerging artist and consummate stacker of things. A fashion designer by training, if never by trade, Charla’s artistic impulses have come through again at the age of 78.
Charla has taken to stacking random household objects. At first a little put off by this habit, Alison noticed that there was a strange beauty in the arrangements. She started photographing them.
Now Charla’s creations, and Alison’s documentary work of them, have been accepted in the juried Flower (Re)Power show June 17-July 23 at the Burt Chernow Galleries. Artists were instructed to “refresh the exhausted visual of the flower.” That is, re-interpret floral motifs.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Charla Boteler is 78 years old and has had Alzheimer’s for over a decade. As a college girl, she studied fashion design and window dressing with dreams of working in New York. Her career path took a different turn when she married and became a schoolteacher, homemaker and wonderful mom. For recreation, Charla painted landscapes and seascapes of her travels as well as portraits.
When her Alzheimer’s progressed, Charla lost her ability to paint but never the desire to express her creativity. She enjoys wearing reindeer antlers or rabbit ears as her fashion statement and art is always part of her daily routine. From dawn to dusk, Charla makes arrangements of found objects, flowers and weeds from the yard. We named this new medium of hers “stacking.”
I began documenting Charla’s stacks about 2 years ago. These still life scenes are anything but still. Her stacks are usually vertical, delicately balanced and very transient. Because of gravity issues, they often fall down in a crash heard ‘round the house. Other arrangements are simply unique combinations of what Charla calls “stuff that fits with other stuff.”