During my time at the Tallgrass Artist Residency, I reflected on how to enjoy the process of creating again, tried new methods of making, and breathed in that familiar prairie air. When I first saw the images of the Tallgrass prairie, I remember thinking, “I want to get out and play in that.” So getting to do that, allowing myself to indulge in play and imagination, really helped spark and refresh my artistic practice. After being in the northeast for the past few years, being at Matfield Green felt like a celebration of returning home for me. Even though I had never been to Matfield Green, it seemed like a concentrated memory of what I love about being in rural spaces.

Chelsey Becker is a conceptual artist from Claremore, Oklahoma. She received her MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. Becker’s practice derives from her ties to rural cultures, blue-collar work, and generational afflictions, which has manifested in many art mediums, including photography, sculpture, writing, fiber, artist books, and performance.

The topics she broaches have become negated in the modern setting, because in the face of swelling urban sprawl and mutating technological advancements, crudities are viewed as an eyesore. However, beneath the roughhewn vernacular, regional hardships, family dynamics, and labor are the existential threads that ingrain people and communities together.