“Every act of violence rends the fabric of time, and the frayed threads can never be completely stitched back together.” Smithsonian Magazine, July 2015
During the month of June in 2015 I stayed at Can Serrat, an artist residency in El Bruc, Catalonia, Spain. My installation at Mote Gallery is a materialization of that journey. Much of the time I spent wandering around the vast Montserrat Mountain and valley, collecting thoughts and contemplating remains. My installation at Mote Gallery addresses the heartaches of unjust acts, which have accrued histories of violence embedded in our land. During my time there I learned of brutalities that mangled the country, while many atrocities were happening here in the US.
This installation is dedicated to my friend Harri Refugi Agulles and his family who greatly suffered through the Franco reign during the Spanish Civil War and to the lives lost during the devastating mass shooting that took 9 innocent lives on June 17, 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina: Cynthia Marie Grahm Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Clementa C. Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson.
2015 Whiteness of the Whale
The Whiteness of the Whale, 2015, Cultural Arts Center, Columbus, Ohio, December 4, 2015 - January 9, 2016. Curated by Molly Jo Burke and Andrea Meyers.
Participating artist: Molly Jo Burke, Candace Black, Jeffrey Haase, Leah Frankel, Ruth Margraff, Andrea Myers, Jayne Struble, Kimberly M. Webb, and Joshua Grant Welker
Herman Melville’s chapter 42 dives into the unsaid, the appalling truth, The Whiteness of the Whale. Ishmael philosophized in 1851 about the whale in the sea, which remains the whale in the world today. “It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.” Overwhelmingly introspective, Melville addresses the complexity of white, what it symbolizes in religions, cultures, and nature as both sacred and horrifying. How it “applies to the human race itself, giving the white man ideal mastership over every dusky tribe” by a perverted perception of power. “A colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink.”
“Tough in many of its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright. But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous-why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian’s Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind.”
Referring to the drive of Ahab, his African captain, “Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?”
It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me, 2015, wood, wire, joint compound, wood glue, wheat paste, plaster, paper, ink, 82" x 28" x 5"
A dumb blankness, full of meaning, 2015, wood, wire, epoxy, clay, rock, shirt, paint, 180" x 2.5" x 1"
2014 - 2015 ditched
ditched, a solo exhibition at Sean Christopher Gallery December 6, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
815 N High St Ste H&N Columbus, OH 43215
ditched is a series of sculptural works which are a natural outgrowth my MFA thesis research Consider the Lump.
Reinventing what has been deemed worthless, I question the shifts in value as I explore a landscape's grit. Just as an archeologist excavates to understand a time and culture, I examine the ways of our time through what is left behind day to day.
Lump Artifact, 2014, plaster, 10" x 18" x 18"
Some Stuff, 2014, core sample of studio debris, 4" x 4" x 136"
Grit, 2014, wood, glue, wood filler, spackle, wicker, paper, tar, 75" x 48 1/2" x 10"
Flammable, 2014, wood, leather, cardboard, paper, epoxy foam, acrylic, 34" x 31" x 11"
Mhmm, 2013, porcelain, epoxy putty, pigment, tar, wood, screw, 6 1/2" x 3" x 3”
Tug, 2013, wood, nails, epoxy putty, pigment, thread, pin, 13" x 11 1/2" x 1 1/4"
Pretty Much, 2014, tape 44" x 30"
Parked, 2014, graphite, found image on paper, oil, acrylic, wood, 15" x 17" x 2"
It’s Hereditary, 2014, paper print, fabric, thread, wood, 14" x 20" x 3 1/4"
Shit Is Real, 2014, wood, glue, screws 33 3/4" x 96" x 1 3/8"
2014 All this Happened, More or Less
All this Happened, More or Less, 2014 Thesis Exhibition, Canzani Gallery, Columbus College of Art & Design,
Consider the Lump is a body of sculptural (de)compositions that regurgitates a daily life that is loud, immediate, fragmented. The work is reactionary in content, form, and process. Value is found through the practice of slowing down to collect what is often disregarded: detritus along the road side, the abandoned table in an alley, the lump of plaster in the bottom of a bucket. These remains are broken down then materials such as resin, epoxy, tar, latex, and mud are pushed and poured to adhere these ruins to create new forms. Inspiration is drawn from chance, the states of things often held together by tension and vulnerability, moments of absurdity. Coming out of a conversation of sculpture from Arte Povera and Dada to Pop and Postmodern, Consider the Lump are siphoned assembled moments.
Consider the Lump's title is inspired by David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster.
Puh, 2014, latex and wood, 17.5' x 6' x 2'
Jenny’s Head Fell Off, 2014, pieces from a ditch, 3' x 4' x 4'
Jenny’s Head Fell Off, 2014, Pieces from a ditch, 3 x 4 x 4’
Some Stuff, 2014, core sample of studio debris, 4" x 4" x 136"
The form is the series’ most siphoned, abjected assemblage. It is compacted with layers and layers of studio debris spanning from October of 2013 to February 2014.
Tamara Mann referred to it as “a way of taking the physical world’s temperature.”
3rd floor, Design Studios on Broad 91 Cleveland Ave. , Columbus, OH 43215, United States
In Loo is an exhibition of collaborative efforts that subverts the gallery context and explores the ideas of reconsidering our everyday interactions with how we view "art". Artists were invited to apply aesthetic interventions both subtle and overt to specific loos, restrooms on the third floor of Design Studios on Broad at the Columbus College of Art and Design. In Loo inspects topics revolving around the cultural and historical make up and language of the loo, spaces taken for granted, private to public realms, sanitation aesthetics, labor relations, gender roles, and so on. Opening Reception wasTuesday, April 23, 2013 7:30 - 9:30 pm Exhibition will run through May 10. We ate and drank and talked art in the loos.
This work is that of beginning, an attempt to grow from the dirt that surrounds us a landscape that is most often overlooked yet has an intentional and rich history. The practice of romanticizing dirt and earth, collecting it and taking it away from sites is an ancient one. From Adena and Hopewell cultures dating back to 3400 BCE, to Robert Smithson and Agnes Denes in the 1970s, to Natalie Jeremijenko and Mel Chin today—this old conversation continues and has transformed over time to now, the expanded media. In reaction and desire to expand Clement Greensberg’s search for the modern purification of art forms, Rosalind Krauss said, “Instead of searching for painting or sculpture, the media have become so conflated that the artist must strive to attain a purification of Art itself.”
Coincidentally, my search has focused on the dandelion, one of the most purifying plants one could digest. The Greek translation of taraxos is remedy for any disorder. It has been said to “clear the body of old emotions such as anger and fear that can be stored in the liver.” The dandelion has more vitamins and minerals than many plants that are grown as nourishment, yet people go togreat extents to destroy this "weed," sometimes by poisoning their land and then question why negative health rates rise. This resilient plant is so hearty that it will grow in the crack of a sidewalk with the poorest soil yet so fragile that when picked it immediately begins to wilt and die.
Why has something good been deemed negative? Why do people accept certain ways of life that are less beneficial, even harmful? Certainly throughout history people have chosen harmful tasks to replace beneficial ones. By examining the North American lawn, we can begin to question the decisions behind this conformity and displacement both physically and psychologically. Issues in our environment are very much linked to cultural, historical, political, economical, psychological developments and outcomes.
The Columbus Arts Pop-Up Project (CAP-UP) was a series of installation window displays by area artists. The project is a partnership between the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) and the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District (SID). This was a public art commission by the city of Columbus for the Bicentennial.
The Native Americans had a visual language rich with cultural metaphors. There was no word for art as everything of utility was elaborately decorated. As you look here in central downtown Columbus on High and Gay Street pay attention to the eagles resting above the windows carved into the architecture. The Haudensaunee (Iroquois) believe the eagle is our sacred protector and messenger sending dreams up into the spirit world. The wings of the eagle are taken as a symbol of the balance between females and males. The eagle’s wings are interdependent, one upon the other. They both must work in cooperation to achieve balance. Under these eagles you will see my female and male Native American representations.
In the triptych’s center notice another symbol, the Thunderbird (also know as the Thunderer and the Bineshii) made of native Ohio wood. The Bineshii was thought to bestow rain and blessings to the land and people. When it flaps it’s wings or blinks it’s eyes lightening and thunder ignite. All of the plants are native and were used by our ancestors.
While we celebrate the bicentennial, let us remember the history of our land and people. Our present day is still rooted by our ancestors in more ways than one. Ogwehowka translates “All things that pertain to the way of life of the original people.” Through this art, I invite you to embrace the Ogwehowka, our roots. Honor and respect the land that you are part of. Appreciate the food that you eat and the family that you have. There is a living spirit in all things and it is endemic to being human, we are all connected to it.
2011 Art al Fresco
This was a commissioned piece by Columbus, Ohio's Short North Art District Business Association in 2011. The temporary outdoor exhibition was titled "Unexpected Guests"
As a frequent bus rider, I know how uncomfortable and unpleasant bus stops can be. Riding the COTA bus is not always a pleasant experience. According to the American Public Transportation Association “Public transportation in the United States is a crucial part of the solution to the nation’s economic, energy, and environmental challenges helping to bring a better quality of life. In increasing numbers, people are using public transportation and local communities are expanding public transit services. Every segment of American society individuals, families, communities, and businesses benefits from public transportation.”
Public transit participants should be rewarded by resting for their departure with newly added vertical green space. The burlap was generously donated by Cafe Brioso and filled with mint plants. The smell should stimulate the mind, calm the nerves, and freshen the air.
2006 - 2013 Eggshells
My process of piecing and the detachment necessary for rebuilding is parallel to my life. My thesis show is a romanticized ode to the state of flux that we all endure. Nothing is stable and real because everything is always changing, moving, growing, or falling apart. To walk within this gallery, the viewer becomes part of the work. It is necessary for you to be aware of the piece because you transform it. The show changes with each step. Destruction is necessary for the exploration. These creations embrace the paramount transient.
Final paragraph in my thesis statement.
November 25, 2006
I sat in the cold bathroom in the back of the gallery burying the hot tears with my hands during my first solo exhibition. They still smelled like trash from trying to dig up the eggshells from the dumpster out back and were blistered from the amount of washing I had done, thousands of them gathered by friends and family and businesses for months. The shells covered the gallery floor, 1,000 square feet. I called it “Resonated Detachment.” Everyone was to take part in the installation by shattering the pieces they inevitably had to step on. The exhibition paralleled my life as it was based on fragility and how destruction is necessary in order for new growth to emerge. The entire installation was prematurely destroyed by a custodial mishap. The eggshells were “cleaned up” an hour before the exhibition. It was devastating but now I understand that it couldn’t have been more perfect. It was there that I was both broken and mended.
The work in the Elements of Art gallery in downtown Columbus Ohio, my thesis exhibition was after a long undergraduate career at OSU. The work was a collection of objects and ideas I created during my time at OSU re purposed into new ways of viewing them. Two groups of collage work made up of the various paintings, drawings, photographs, and or whatever else I created in school to signify the time was either put together digitally or physically. These two walls opposed each other. In the wall in the far back between the two collage collections, an old chipped medicine cabinet housed small glass urns with a brown hue. On the outside of the urns were white typed numbers and letters on black labels, the call numbers for the photography classed that I had taken. Inside the urns were the ashes of the burnt photographs I had held onto the work and concepts a long time. I let them go into one last state.
On the floor were the shells. Thousands of them. I left. I showered and in route of returning received a frantic phone call. It was the director of the gallery. He had left too and when he returned the gallery was swept up and floors were polished. A custodian mistook the shells for vandalism. All the eggshells were gone.
In 2006 I collected eggshells everyday for 3-4 months from friends, family, and strangers. Sometimes I would drive around town to pick them up, other times I would come home and find them on my front porch.
During this time in my life I felt as though many things were falling apart and there was only so much that I could control. For a long time I felt as though I had to walk on eggshells to avoid destruction. Then I decided to embrace the destruction. I covered a gallery floor of about 1,000 square feet with these eggshells that were touched by hundreds of people. The egg and the shell have a great amount of connotations and symbolism such as life, birth, transformation, delicacy. The installation was an invitation to embrace the destruction and invite others to transform the work just as others had helped create it.
An hour after an 8 hour install I came back to the gallery and it was empty. The shells were misunderstood and thought to be a work of vandalism. The custodian had cleaned up the shells less than an hour before doors were to open. The exhibition was destroyed.
In retrospect, it couldn't have happened more poetically. I had to let go of control and understand that to really embrace the destruction it had to be completely out of my hands.
But I never stopped collecting. 7 years of eggshells were collected and I traveled with them to Mildred's Lane. Our workshop "Learning to Resingularize" as well as the entire project of Mildred's Lane seemed like the best place to create the closure to this project.