From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Archive for the ‘textile’ Category

Identity Tapestry to show in Switzerland

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vkz_ueber20unsFrom the first iterations of Identity Tapestry I’ve been wanting to create it both in a museum space and in another language.  I’m pleased to announce that this May I’ll be doing both!  Identity Tapestry will be up as part of the upcoming show “Identity” for four months starting this May at the Vögele Cultural Center in Pfäffikon (just outside Zurich).

I will be flying out for the install and I’m incredibly excited.  Any iteration demands a look at which statements to include or leave or if new ones ought to be added, especially in a new area or situation. In this case the language use should be especially interesting because there are essentially two languages at work there: High German and Swiss German.  One is the official language which is used for nearly all text, the other is the language of intimate conversations and the inside of one’s own head.  Apparently it is only recently that the Swiss-German language has appeared in text, and then mostly in text messages, and only to very intimate friends.  How I approach these languages and navigate translations will add new levels of complexity to the piece.  Thankfully the curatorial staff is wonderful and I have a local Zurich-raised person who is willing to consult with me on language as well.

Hidden Processes

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display sketchMy sketches are always like this- rough, scribbly, and somehow they work the best for me- loose enough for me to imagine different details.  But until the other  even the loosest sketch of the physical part of my Endangered Languages piece weren’t jelling enough for any sketch to make me happy.

I had been hitting a major wall with the work and it was keeping me up at night for weeks as I tossed image after image and idea after idea in my head.  Two days ago I had a great conversation with a friend that helped me break through.  He has helped me document my work in video and photography but more importantly he is always  a great person to brainstorm with (there are two pieces we’ve thought out together that I think need to be made as collaborative works).

The thing is the process is so often in the mind.  I visualize and discard so much before I start making these days.  Now without having physically built anything, I suddenly have a pretty clear picture of the finished piece.  Now that it’s there I can sketch and mock up and I can start building like a maniac.  I’m going to build a mock-up for size and relationship to the body before I build the main object.  I want to get the height and tilt angle that way.  It should recall natural history museum displays… but with some unexpected twists in action.

Another thing hidden (besides things in my brain) is the thoughts and concepts behind the work.  You will notice I don’t tend to explain my concepts here.  I have them, usually intensely thought out (what some people would consider over-thought out), but I want the concept to be experienced and seen and heard, not just explained before people see the actual work.  I want them to walk up and discover it, not come in with a thesis on it.  There is also a sort of delicacy in certain stages of creation, where if you explain too much (especially to the wrong people at the wrong time) it leeches the life out of it in your mind, or it kills your drive to make it.

At the same time, I love revealing the physical process.  I like to show the beauty and madness of the actual objects-in-progress and the physical experience of making the thing rather than explain everything up front.

You’ll notice the Academy of Sciences sticker in my sketchbook.  I went with my daughter after school to get a look at the display cases, both old and new.  When I go into a museums or place with the intent to take notes I always put the ticket or sticker or write the place at the top.  Sometimes the page is otherwise blank.

 

Written by Mary Corey March

November 22, 2014 at 12:59 am

“I am. And You?” (Transparency and Primary Text)

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The space and the work were so wonderful together.  I feel so fortunate to have been able to create this new installation for this space.  “I am. And you?” was also a perfect theme for my work generally, so it was a good fit all around.  They have asked if I would keep up the new work “Transparency” for the next show as well (centered around building community and communication), so there will be more chances for the general public (aside from hundreds of theater-goes) to see it.

I always love seeing people interact with my work and discovering what happens when the work comes together with a space and a unique group of people.

Written by Mary Corey March

July 8, 2014 at 11:18 am

Installing for “I am. And you?

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IMG_5621Did I mention the space is absolutely amazing?  When I saw that piece of set (a huge factory wall which can be back-lit through the windows), the height of the ceilings, the space generally I knew I had to do a piece in that space.

So over the last couple days we put up Primary Text and my new work Transparency, created especially for the space and the “I am.  And you?” show at Zspace.  Primary Text is hung in this image (left), but not yet anchored.  I’m excited to see that one in action Participation-wise.

Yesterday I finished creating a warp for Transparency (the up and down part of a weaving on the loom) over 15 feet long.  It’s right in front of the windows, and the material you will be weaving into it is the colored gels theaters use over lights.  You can just see the 3 cables I used to hang it.

Each person will answer a question and write it on the gels and weave it into the warp.  They can also respond to someone else’s answer as if that person asked “and you?”. The physical result should be a kid of stained-glass window lit from behind.

I’ve been thinking a lot about ideas and experiences of introversion and extroversion, backstage/onstage/audience, the parts of ourselves we show differently in different company.  Filtered selves, not fake, but you don’t let the same parts of yourself through to your coworkers as you do to your lover or your child or vice versa.  One odd discovery is how many theatre performers are actually introverts offstage.  Given the environment of the theatre and the way lights and windows an that set-piece were working I had to explore transparency and filters while using the visual materials of the theatre-space (sand-bags, lighting gels, a “set” of flat black).  I’m excited to see how it all comes out when it’s been interacted with!

Please join us Monday night from 6-10 at ZSpace in San Francisco.

Directions

Written by Mary Corey March

July 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Write Me for Art, installation at the Old Mint

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The envelope piece is…

Write Me for Art/Do you read me? (Disintermediation)

Mixed Media Participatory Installation: hand embroidery on cloth.

To create this piece I gave people (mostly strangers) around the country self-addressed stamped envelopes with personal questions inside and a description of the project, usually after a good conversation.

They were invited to write a short response in their own handwriting and send it back to me to become part of the project (also available to those following the artist online). The artist then hand embroidered every reply received by Jan 1, 2014, matching the color and handwriting as faithfully as possible.

The tablet piece on the table is…

Write Me for Art/ Do you read me? (digital mediation)

Mixed Media Participatory Installation: machine embroidery, print on fabric, acrylic, weights.

This piece includes text from the companion piece Write Me for Art/Do you read me? (Disintermediation), but also text taken by the artist from online social media.

*For those of you who are unable to handle these, if you did you would notice that the ones that are machine-embroidered were heavy (about the weight of a phone or tablet, a little heavier).  Those objects corresponded to the text from the first piece (Disintermediation).  The others were printed rather than embroidered, were light and the text was taken from online social media.

The piece in the background is Iteration #9 of Identity Tapestry.

Gala Night

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The Gala fundraiser opening for SFAI’s graduate thesis show. 

last participantThis photo is right when things were closing down.  I liked the stillness and being  able to clearly see all three pieces without the crowd.  It was a really great night.  I love  seeing people interact with the work!

My work for this show included Identity Tapestry (iteration#9)Write Me for Art/Do you read me? (Disintermediation), and Write Me for Art/ Do you read me? (digital mediation)

I poked my head out a little, but I haven’t seen the whole show yet.  I’m looking forward to a quiet viewing tomorrow.

Officially installed!

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install shotDone!  There is  more than this in the full installation (such as 40 more hand-embroidered messages), but this should give you an  idea.  Identity Tapestry is ready to go, the table is built, the tablets together and the envelopes hung.  All ready for visitors and participants.

Please join us at the Mint for the show this week! Details here:  http://www.sfai.edu/principal