Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Women's Art Institute at St. Kate's

The Women's Art Institute at St. Kates is an interesting, intensive experience. For the last 16 years, for nearly 4 weeks, 5 days a week, 18 or so women meet with professors, visiting artists, art historians and make studio visits to working artists all while producing a "major body of work", informed by our work together.  This may well be a fitting definition for the word "INTENSE."  A lot of reading, writing, discussion, and, yes, sometimes tears, ensue.

I came to try to bring focus to my work, illuminate a path ahead for work and exhibition, and increase community.  While the months ahead will tell, I believe all three of those goals have been addressed.
I came with the intent of investigating the role of digital embroidery in my feminist art practice.  I did, indeed, fuss around a lot with the existing elements of this nascent installation of embroidered vulvas.  They are rather pretty and began to develop as characters  But I paused the project and will continue with it at a later time.

Why?  well, stuff happens!  Part of the project involved the development of wall paper for the installation.  When the wallpaper arrived from Spoonflower, it was beautiful...but WRONG for the project.  However, it was very right in and of itself.  It became a stand alone, editionable piece, entitled  THE BODY DISAPPEARS.  It is a print, 12' long and 2' wide and it is rich and beautiful.

While I was awaiting the arrival of the wallpaper, I began thinking that the project was not only about life but it was also about death:  the little deaths and the real bodily death.  So I began designing a black and white wallpaper.  I wanted to suggest the cycle of life by using white conte crayon on paper coated with chalkboard paint.  It gave a lovely ghosting effect to the drawing...

and then I could not stop.  The chalk drew me in, so to speak, and carried me onward.  I began to think in terms of an installation of drawings that surrounded me, going deeper and darker into the ideas of Eros and Thanatos.  I envisioned it as a frieze that would surround me.  Each frieze was about 18' long.  As the days progressed, the drawings changed and began to include bones and mysterious deep sea forms and slashing lines. Until...
It became this installation with a performance.  It had become clear that the drawings would not read properly in a single sentence around the room.  They needed to become a paragraph, with a sound track and performance.  The performance was simple:  I drew and erased, drew and erased, drew and erased.  In the end, the piece was 10' h by approximately 18 ' w.
sound loop for the performance of Eros and Thantos

8 panels of Eros and Thanatos will be shown briefly, July 11- July 18, in the galleries at the 
Catherine G. Murphy Gallery
                                              2004 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55105

July 11: 10am-7pm
July 12: 10 am-7:30pm
July 13-18: 4:30pm-8:30pm

July11-12 coincide with the Art Fair at St. Kates, which is a lovely event!