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.