This is the phase that I love most in making--- when leading up to a deadline the pace is almost every day, touching materials, a running dialogue tied to place and hands and ears and an architecture of plans to fill and flex as needed. It’s also a pace I can’t help but dread //// somehow the dread is always lingering on the backside of big wild love for something. It takes a lot out--- sometimes I am wishing I could turn the problem-solving off like a faucet when it pours like this, iterating what I could do tomorrow or deciding process steps when I am attempting mundane tasks that are usually relaxing to me, like dishes.
I have to move forward by ruthless paring down in order to avoid everythingness, making too much. Always the why make objects will come up and I answer my own questions which ask new ones by just trying things out, physically. The clash between how I like to make a lot of objects but I also like the objects I make to have enough space to be roomy, so, there is a lot of inner negotiation I start doing in the two weeks leading up to an install. The container of a show in a gallery isn’t something I usually traffic in--- I have largely been doing public art projects, performances, collaborations, or being a part of group shows, since my last gallery solo show in 2014. However, this timing is perfect, as I have just completed a video and am currently completing some sculptures that I would like to show in a gallery setting, so it’s time again to deal with the fitting it into the white rectangles of a gallery because they make really good sense here. Lately a lot of things have converged between the readings I am doing for my two classes, art I have seen in person in the past year, and studio interests. I have been thinking of impossible movements as templates:
what affect happens when an inflatable palm lies down like its upper trunk is heavy::: is that a bowing or a surrender:::: what subtle movement of shapes or flatness makes it one way or the other::: what happens when I take materials out of context and use them to literally fill containers not meant for them:::: if I am trying to look at a certain movement from a video piece, where two sets of arms cross and look weightless, and I translate that into black shiny foam cast into an inner tube, that shimmers with cartoonishly oversized glitter, and then remove all the wrappings.
Sometimes the molds I am have filled come apart everything is in tact, robust, ballooning forth in hardened round splendor, which fascinates me every time. I am also curious and tender right now about the castings that are extra messed up, where I didn’t measure something right or some air got trapped. In working in an experimental way, it seems strange to throw out all the process, so I have been taking clumsy handfulls of bright yellow epoxy clay and plugging accidental holes in the monochrome conrete, almost like flagging something to come back to it, but I might leave the callouts in place.
Last summer while in Austria for six weeks I made it to to see Thinking with the Body, a retrospective at Museum der Moderne Salzburg of choreographer Simone Forti. I was struck by the video documentation of her work Huddle in different spaces, different times, and how to me it escapes the sad snake-eating-its-tail of performance performing itself by being a framework. Instead of a Marina Abramovic-esque cannibalistic reperforming, rather Huddle is a framework where each time it is supposed to be new, not trying to look like any other version of itself. It’s a simple notion, but one that I come back to again and again because it refreshes me to think of sculpture as a script of actions, and sometimes to think of movement and video as time-based sculpture, much like Simone Forti and her mentor Anna Halprin. I have also been thinking a LOT about Jen Rosenblit’s dance work in general, especially the piece Everything Fits In The Room, how she plays with objects in a way where they become bodily, humorous, they seem to push back against the dancers manipulating them. This Sunday I had the extremely lovely experience of live scoring a dance performance by Hez Stalcup and Gavin Bernard. I was on singing saw performing improvised melodies while Janet McKee and Jake Krakovsky played accordion. It was an anecdote to lists and plans.
A bodily reminder of taking action and listening. A feedback system to move forward. performers: hez stalcup and gavin bernard, with jane foley, jake krakovsky, and janet mckee. Photo cred: Dana Haugaard