Wednesday, December 09, 2009
(Above: Key to Everlasting Life. 8" x 6". Embellished background, found objects, collaged vintage papers, hand stitching. Click on image to enlarge.)
My self-imposed February deadline is looming. In less than two months Blues Chapel will have returned from Texas and be installed at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. It will fill the large space. I'm not worried about this part of the exhibition...even though at least three pieces have been sold. My focus really isn't on this part of the show. It might seem strange, but the entire reason for mounting this exhibition is to have an opportunity to photograph the Epitaph Installation with its associated work. My thinking is simple: I've already built the "church" (Blues Chapel); now I'm building the "graveyard" (which I'm calling "Last Words"....although I might later call is "Everlasting"....which one sounds better?) With proper photographs, I can begin to submit for future solo shows elsewhere.
The work is coming along wonderfully. Yet, I continue to think up new ideas for other, related pieces of art. There's no way to get it all done before February 4th! One of the reasons I am continually inspired is that I am continually finding new places to investigate.
Over the weekend I found the South Carolina State Cemetery. Using Google Maps....on "satellite" mode....I saw a little dirt road off one of the paved roads in the local cemetery. I went on my moped. Although still in the city, only a mile from the State Capitol building, only four blocks from my house....I was all alone under a perfect blue sky with tall trees on all sides. The only sign of "civilization" was the nearby, empty railroad line.
At the end of the dirt road was a surprisingly well kept clearing. This is the South Carolina State cemetery...resting places for prisoners, mostly from the 1930s.
Beyond these markers is a bright white, 8 foot tall, fence around a very small plot of land. It wasn't locked. I went inside. The manicured lawn and bench made this a very special location for the physical remains of bodies donated to the University of South Carolina's School of Medicine.
Also in the clearing was another large, chiseled grave. It marked the location to which early, unknown settlers bodies had been moved in order to enlarge I-126, the highway coming into town. (Please note, I found this place utterly peaceful, completely beautiful, and totally respectful.)
All weekend I thought about society's funeral customs and the complications that must be addressed when someone's death or last requests aren't "the norm". This really is "food for thought" but also inspiration for creativity. While I thought, I worked....on several more pieces in my Angels in Mourning Series.
(Above: The Last Prayer, Angels in Mourning Series. Framed: 37 1/2" x 29". Paper: 30" x 22 1/2". Xylene photo transfer, found objects, hand stitching. Click on images to enlarge.)
(Above: The Appointed Hour, Angels in Mourning Series. Framed: 37 1/2" x 29". Paper: 30" x 22 1/2". Xylene photo transfer, found objects, hand stitching. Click on images to enlarge.)
(Above: Departed, Angels in Mourning Series. Framed: 37 1/2" x 29". Paper: 30" x 22 1/2". Xylene photo transfer, found objects, hand stitching. Click on images to enlarge.)
(Above: Farewell, Beloved, Angels in Mourning Series. Framed: 37 1/2" x 29". Paper: 30" x 22 1/2". Xylene photo transfer, found objects, hand stitching. Click on images to enlarge.)
I also visited another local cemetery for another AMAZINGLY large haul of artificial flowers from the trash bins and dumpsters. (Click here for a post that includes a photos of my guest bathtub full of flowers being washed....looks like a Pre-Raphelite location for Ophelia's drowning!)
Okay....I know this series have pretty much taken over my life, but that's NOT what it is all about. I'm not obsessed with "death" but with all the things I want to accomplish beforehand. There are so many things I want to "recycle".... incorporate with textiles and stitches...breathe new life into something old....etc. That's exactly what I did with a lovely little glass bead and wire necklace that my sister Wanda sent to me. She was clearing out a storage bin...found it...and knew I'd love it for art. It reminded me of all my artificial flowers. So, refashioned it into the Key of Everlasting Life. (Far above). Thank you Wanda! It is perfect! It will replace one of the "keys" that were sold from my Decisions Installation...even though it was inspired by my "Last Words" or "Everlasting" work! I guess everything I do is related!
Now...I don't just "hang out" in cemeteries! I also make it a point to see new, contemporary textiles whenever possible. Last Friday, while dropping off new work at the Grovewood Gallery, I was able to spend time in the gallery space (Spotlight Gallery) there. The show was called L.I.N.T. (Ladies in New Textiles).
The show featured works By: Norma Bradley, Peggy Debell, Diana Denardis, Sondra Dorn, Vicki Essig, Suzanne Gernandt, Susan Webb Lee, Janice Maddox, Bernie Rowell, Judy Simmons, Kathy Spencer, Jude Stuecker and Jen Swearington.
I was particularly fond of Bernie Rowell's Envelope Series. I'm also a fan of canceled stamps, vintage handwriting, and the combination of paper and textiles with stitch. Suzanne Gernandt's work perfectly blended painted papers, weaving, and stitch. She listed the work as "mixed media weaving"....a perfect way to categorize them. Her craftsmanship was brilliant. Jen Swearington uses old household textiles to "illustrate stories that have yet to be written." I'm totally drawn to this notion of "repurposing" material!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 11:51 AM