Untitled, detail, 2017, acrylic, wallpaper, cheesecloth, rice paper on canvas, 48" x 30" x 1.5"
The word inventory comes from the Latin translating as "a list of what was found." As I sit here in my Chicago studio, the concept of inventory is apt. I am surrounded by piles of books, printed articles, journal sketchbooks, a large table covered in paint tubes and brushes and tools, boxes of drawings, stacks of paintings. There is so much. In our Writing Art class this semester we read about Robert Gluck and the New Narrative. I was struck by his statement: "I could not go on until I figured out some way to understand where I was." I think that's what graduate school is about....naming where one is and then forging the new way forward.
I have been making and exhibiting work for many years. Avidly. There have been very few pauses in the past 18 years. And I was making art and showing it in the midst of raising two daughters, running a graphic design business, and managing a transition to living in England and then back to the United States. Precious little time for reflection.
I am launching into an archive project that will consider the meaning of archive, studying different creative types of archives and then developing an archive of my work to date. This work will be undertaken as part of a guided study within my graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I hope to take time to regard the work I have created, to better understand its context and collect essential images, text and ephemera about the work.
What does it mean to "collect oneself"? Some definitions describe it as meaning to regain control after a surprise, embarrassment, fear or an emotional outburst. I think it can also mean to bring parts of oneself together after being scattered.
I invite those who have been engaged in my work and practice to share images, text, drawings, ephemera, remembrances, questions, critiques, perspectives. The archive will include the work of artists in the same orbits in which I traveled, some who are dear and respected colleagues, some who are mentors and others who are inspirations I do not personally know.
The work will take the form of a collection of images and an artists book contained in an archival box. I am working with SAIC Visual Communications senior, Vivian Dang, who will design the book. We are also brilliantly supported by Doro Boehme and Kayla Andersen from the Joan Flasch Artists Book Collection at SAIC.
As part of my Writing Art class this semester, I am using a range of writing forms to describe and reflect on particular works from my archive.
I have just completed my first major paper for my graduate study work on the Low Residency MFA Program at School of the Art Institute of Chicago! This was a much longer and richer process than I expected. The topic at which I arrived is very connected with a strand of my work that involves participatory performance. The paper is entitled: "Displacement as a Parafictive Strategy Toward a Sense of Being-in-Common in Art." I use this lens to look at works by Julieta Aranda, Janet Cardiff + Robert Bures Miller, and Sophie Calle. All of these works have the effect of creating a sense of being-in-common which I find very compelling. When I started this paper in late October, I could not have imagined how very poignant and urgent the topic would become in this post-2016 presidential election era in the United States.
* "We are in a condition of 'quantum entanglement.' We are connected to one another...the condition within which we live is one of difference without separability. Our social life is best described as a kind of mass, massive contact improvisation; and the brutality of life emerges out of our refusal or our disavowal of that fact."
- Fred Moten (using Denise Ferreira da Silva's phrase 'quantum entanglement')
Excellent talk by Fred Moten on Blackness and Performance given at Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Poland...a great man and an exquisite thinker.
LINK to the paper
From September to December, I have focused much of my studio work on developing four large 5' x 6' paintings. The starting point for each is a piece of text which is then painted in and through, dissolving and returning, until it rests in a solid place and seems to be complete. Most of these are still in progress.
Here are some painters I am currently looking at...
Drawing Attention: Oceanic Time with the Others October 8, 2016
A durational, participatory performance work by Nancy Murphy Spicer
“The work of art takes up the viewer and returns her to herself strange, unfamiliar.”
- Gregg Bordowitz, Artist, Poet, Writer and Educator
This is a durational, participatory performance piece. The structure is:
1. Choose a work of art in a museum that is made by an artist who is NOT among the canon of primarily white male cisgender artists.
2. Commit to be with that work of art for at least 20 minutes.
3. The primary focus: Be with the work in whatever ways that you find help you to comprehend the work in the fullest sense and understand it more deeply. You can choose how to spend this time. You may want to sit or stand and simply observe. You may want to draw or write.
4. The secondary focus: What is happening in the gallery? Take note of how many museum visitors bring their attention to the work you have chosen.
My thesis is that if you draw your attention to this work some of the other museum visitors may be drawn to also bring their attention, sensing that the work must be important if you are giving it such regard.
I invite you to join in this project and allow yourself to soak in the presence of an artwork, to open yourself to an intimate, transformational experience and, through your focus and attention, implicitly invite others to join you.
It is not a requirement for participation, but if you would like to share a drawing and a 300 max. piece of writing about the artwork you selected, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line: Drawing Attention and it will be included in the project webpage.
Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures and Fixes
MOMA Modern Women’s Project
National Museum of Women in the Arts
City Landscape by Joan Mitchell
In acknowledging the mutability of history, we give up the ground upon which we stand and then we are moving through an indeterminate, fluid space.Read More