Meet the new host of "Monograph"

Springville-based artist Jennifer Wallace Fields takes the helm of "Monograph" season 6 premiering April 25 at 9 p.m.

By Hazel McLaughlin

Jennifer Wallace Fields joins "Monograph" for its 6th season, premiering April 25 at 9 p.m., as the new host. Fields is the co-host of the radio show No Bad Art and has been a visual artist and educator for over 20 years. Fields describes her artistic practice as “a process of emotional archeology,” reconstructing narratives with clay sculpture and found objects. Based in Springville, Ala. with a BFA from the University of Montevallo, Fields' work has been exhibited in “Sizing Up: Seven Women Sculptors" for the Alabama State Council of the Arts, “Everything is Sculpture” for The Bell Gallery and in an upcoming solo exhibition set for 2025.

Fields returns to "Monograph" after her home studio, Lit Deer Studio, appeared in the season 5 finale, where she shared her fascination with memory and the natural cycles of life with original host Jackie Clay

“We are very excited about what Jennifer brings to 'Monograph' with her extensive knowledge and background as an established, working Alabama artist,” "Monograph" Executive Producer Christopher E. Holmes said. We spoke with Fields about taking over as host. "We're never going to run out of people to talk to because there's just so much talent," she said. "And it's not really highlighted anywhere else.”

Catch the season 6 premiere early with Fields and the filmmakers at Sidewalk Cinema on April 21 at 6 p.m. with Q-and-A to follow.

Artist to host—how did your past experiences lead you to this new role?

I was always very shy growing up, but I've always loved to talk to artists and talk about art. Two years ago now, [my husband] and I started No Bad Art. It's a radio show on Substrate, and we did that every Saturday for a year. It was a live radio show, and I think talking to people every single weekend helped me get over some of my shyness because that's the part that I love. I love talking to anybody about whatever they’re passionate about. That gets me fired up.

What drew you to the show?

I come from a long line of educators. My mother, my aunt, my grandfather. I love to teach people how to do things, and I love to learn how to do things. If I could be in school for the rest of my life, I would. I would just want to learn all the things, and it doesn't matter if I already know how to do it. I want to know how you do it because inevitably you learn from that.

I felt like "Monograph" was kind of a way for me to learn how to do things [while] also facilitating the people, the greater public, to learn too.

Why do you think it’s important to show artists and makers from Alabama?

Too many times, especially in Alabama, we don't recognize our own brilliance. Our artists and makers—and probably other areas that I'm not aware of—have to leave the state to be recognized outside of the state.

Sometimes they come back but sometimes they never do because they haven't always felt the appreciation that they really should have. I think one of the most important parts about "Monograph" is exploring and celebrating every nook and cranny.

What has clay, a medium that often breaks, taught you about starting over?

It's a lifelong goal to obtain un-attachment. Of course, I want to make the things that I have the vision for, and I do care about that end result. I want it to be what I want it to be, but sometimes clay can be so unpredictable that it will break or it will explode. There are things that I can't control about that. I just always have to do my best, and if it doesn't work out, I start over and do my best again.

The thing I like about clay—when it's wet the body of it actually has memory and so if you go in a certain direction for a while and then you decide that you want to change, it's not going to want to do that with you. So I feel like there's a definite collaboration in the material of clay itself. You have to have your vision and go for it, but the clay has something to say about it, too. That's a big life lesson that I take from my studio practice.

Watch season 6 of "Monograph" April 25 at 9.m. on APT.

"Monograph" is a docu-series produced by Alabama Public Television, showcasing Alabama’s rich creative and artistic diversity. We highlight a multitude of disciplines and human identities, both inside and outside the traditional art world. "Monograph" uploads bi-weekly on APT’s YouTube Channel. You can watch the quarterly broadcast specials on the PBS app or your local Alabama Public Television station.

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