Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Haunt Show Installation, Zephyr Gallery, Louisville, KY

Process is often easier for me to talk about than concept. However, the process and the ideas for this show are similar in that they are both multi-layered. The simplest expression of my concept for this installation is that it is a tribute to my love of the landscape in and around Kentucky -my love of being part of the natural environment. State boundaries are a man-made construct, so it is problematic to label this as solely a Kentucky landscape. The more complex conceptualization behind this installation is that I am attempting to recreate the feelings and fantasies I experience in my natural surroundings to share with a gallery audience.
I don't believe large-scale installation pieces happen through the artist alone. In my case, I have many people to thank for helping me get this show ready. First, I need to thank a few donors who stepped in to help make this happen. One year ago, in March, The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft awarded me with a residency that gave me a public space, funding for supplies, and a stipend for my time. This allowed me to explore ideas about an installation piece that I had been thinking about. Being given a new space in which to play with these pieces, and the funding to do so, was invaluable. In addition, as I was running short on my budget to finish this installation, The Louisville Visual Art Association awarded me with a Linda Schaaf Micro-Loan, and The Kentucky Foundation for Women matched the loan.
I also want to thank the people who have continuously supported my work through their hard work and volunteerism, Scott Henderson (ADI Studio), has done the photography and installation for most of my shows through out the past seven years. Terri Wunderlich, for child care and installation, Jocelyn Moore, and Greg Acker (boats).
Artist Statement

My desire to depict my natural surroundings in a gallery setting goes back ten years ago when I did a class with Judi Chicago. In one of her lectures, Chicago talked about how we live in a male-dominated Western society that places priority on technology and building over being good stewards to our natural environment. She viewed this as an imbalance in power between men and women –men being associated with technology and building, women being associated with nature. As a Women Studies minor/Fiber Arts major, her words and ideas left a strong impression on me and my work, which have included themes in feminism, the natural landscape, and processes often associated with women.

In late 2009, after taking a year and half break from working in my studio I wanted to revisit ideas from my first show at Zephyr, Costumes and Vessels that included an installation of stalactite/stalagmite vessels. At the time I was still hung up on the idea of vessels, womb/women, as a form to depict the natural world, but was no longer interested in generalized landscape images. I was nurturing a desire to create a whole environment that would convey my own fantastic impressions, overwhelming feelings of comfort and importance about the specific natural landscape surrounding Louisville. So in January of 2010 I created the Ohio River Rising on a Tree Line pieces (upstairs) and applied for a residency at The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. I was interested in the residency because of it’s proximity to the Ohio River and wanted a supporting environment to work out my ideas. Early in my five month stay at the museum, I attended a lecture by Judy Pfaff, which inspired me to make the full commitment to doing an installation that transformed my whole environment, not just dabbled.

During my residency, Todd Smith had visited my studio, I had wanted him to see the work because his work is closely tied to nature and specifically trees. Later, after I moved back into my home studio, Todd had asked me to view one of his pieces he had done focused on the flooding of the Ohio River. When an opportunity for us to show at Zephyr came up, I approached him about doing a conceptual collaboration on visually depicting a long-term flooding of the Ohio in the gallery space. We talked about how the downstairs would describe the results of an event causing the river to stay flooded, (what my work was evolving into) and the upstairs would describe how humans had evolved into living in trees again. From that point our beginning concepts have evolved independent of each other. Although I’ve stayed with our original concept, for my installation portion I became less concerned about just showing a flooded room and more concerned with transforming a whole environment that conveys the fantastical and sometimes close feelings I have revisiting the natural landscape in our area.

Haunt opens Friday, April 1, 2011, 6-9pm at Zephyr Gallery, 610 East Market Street. Gallery Hours are 11am-6pm, Wed-Sat. Artist Talk and Reception is scheduled for Thursday, April 14, 2011, 6-9pm. Closing Reception is scheduled for Friday, May 6, 2011, 6-9pm.