test of the urgency broadcast system
and a declaration of identity, clarifying my position.As an artist?A woman?A black American?A philanthropist? A nosey neighbor? A writer?
A reveler? A philosopher? Boooooooooooooooooooooooooop… Well,
I am a socialite brokering the
magnetism of my personality to start a conversation. I use this impulse
as a measuring stick; a guideline to determine whether the shit I deliver is
bull or brilliant. Audience-as-material, they are the 'second opinion'
for an accurate diagnosis. A gallery full of peanuts, (bomb)shells crunching
underfoot, Texas Roadhouse style. But this not just about living a
glamorous life of real pit barbecue and the stroking of a magnificent ego, it
is a practice of sharing. An acknowledgement of the universality of
performance. A celebration of mark making through action - politicized,
historicized, racialized, and laid to the side. My simultaneous
attraction and repulsion to time based performance work is a reflection of the
ever shifting nature of cultural roles. I have often fancied myself the star of
the show, or at the very least an omnipotent administrator, orchestrating and
stepping back to admire the handiwork. But my efforts are typically
thwarted by the unpredictability of the viewer. Somehow my practice is not a
dictatorship(!). Could democracy be a formal choice? Either way, as a forever
cut-up, contrarian and questioner, my general suspicion compels me to
investigate this alleged relationship between artist + viewer, performer +
audience and/or well-intentioned hopefuls + boo hissers.Algebraic equations for interaction: solve
for “x”. It’s
the space between these connections that compose a transformative substance.
In one instance it's fixed to rigidity, while in another it becomes a
gooey mash rolled into a multitude of perspectives.Ultimately, it's
the confusion that brings clarity. Documentation becomes an on-purpose
accident that muddles the positioning of “who is who?” and "what the hell is
going on here?" There? Everywhere? I, The Couch Surfer (or InflatableMattress Loafer) became an audience of one to 13 performances of domesticity,
while a Facebook feed offers time stamped commentary on the project itself.
Narcissism is indulged via a suite of self-portraits, each sitter donning
a white paint suit - a costume of Kenyaness
to be enacted and discarded at their prerogative. During this performance
a street intersection becomes the unexpected stage for another viewer to venture,
"who's zoomin’ who" - the wisdom of Aretha Franklin in full effect.
"Take another look, tell me boy." In my
world a Walmart in Wallingford, Connecticut is a mega Kunsthalle, double ended zippers are sculptural material
and retail shelving is a pedestal. My studio practice is an analog
digital hybrid influenced by a personal history that privileges the introduction
of call waiting, the loaded cache of the pager, the advent of text messaging,
social media and streaming video as pieces to the same puzzle. Even
artist statements do double duty - application component and art piece. It’s Meta as material, and sculptural form in
the virtual space.
What's in a name? To be sure there are many answers to that question, but recently it's become an opportunity for assumption, confusion and discovery. I was minding my own business, flipping through the April 2013 issue of Art in America (good looking format update BTW), and I came upon a review for Letha Wilson at Higher Pictures.Real talk, my investigation was prompted by the fact that I assumed Ms. Letha a black woman, being on a constant search for sympathetic colleagues and all. Fortunately, I was happily confused into a state of discovery. Her work is invested in landscape photography as sculptural material, an approach I can certainly appreciate as I attempt to create/define performance-documentation-as-object.
In either case, I've culled a few snippets that offer insight into her practice. Next step? Ciphering a studio visit...
Tom Winchester: What is the anxiety of photography?
Letha Wilson: Where does that limit of what it can do end? What are the options for it? The digital age is its anxiety, and the only way to deal with it is to go back. The proliferation of the photographic image, the iPhones, the Facebooks, reproducibility and uniqueness is strange to me because I found printing in the darkroom as less precious; I know I can make it again, but other people might think it’s more precious because my artist’s hand is in it. I think the actual experience, the real thing, the moment the viewer is looking at it in the space of the gallery is the most important thing. That’s why I think digital images can fall short sometimes because how are they any different looking on the wall than on the computer? (Read the Full Interview HERE) Letha Wilson slices, dices, and combines materials to create hybrid images that tether between the the world of reproduction and 3D representation. MORE
I'm just getting back on my blog ish, after a hiatus filled with Thesis Exhibition stress, curatorial madcap adventures and general mischief making. To ease back into the swing of things I'm exploring one my latest obsessions: VELVET
"Velvet is woven on a special loom that weaves two thicknesses of velvet at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart to create the pile effect, and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls. Velvet was expensive to make before industrial power looms became available. Velvet is difficult to clean because of its pile, but modern dry cleaning methods make cleaning more feasible. Velvet pile is created by warp or vertical yarns and velveteen pile is created by weft or fill yarns."
"Velvet can be made from many different kinds of fibers, traditionally silk. Velvet made entirely from silk has market prices of several hundred US dollars per yard. Cotton can also be used, though this often results in a slightly less luxurious fabric. Velvet can also be made from fibers such aslinen, mohair, and wool. A cloth made by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of Congo from raffia is often referred to as "Kuba velvet". More recently, synthetic velvets have been developed, mostly polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate, and mixtures of different synthetics, or synthetics and natural fibers (for example viscose mixed with silk). A small percentage of spandex is sometimes added to give stretch." MORE