Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Last Words at the Caldwell Arts Council

(Above:  Last Words, a solo installation at the Caldwell Arts Council, Lenoir, NC.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Yesterday was spent in the upstairs gallery at the Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, North Carolina. It took all day to transform the space but every effort was worth the result!  Every month there is a general theme for all the artwork on display.  This month, the unifying title is Ties That Bind.  Four other artists have work in the downstairs rooms. I can't wait to return this coming Friday to see their work.  There's an artists "meet-and-greet" starting at 4:30.  The official reception is from 5 - 7. 

(Above:  Photos taken by my husband Steve Dingman ... who drove the van, helped unload the artwork, and was otherwise "bossed around" all day!  Thank you, Steve!)

I've installed this work several times in the past but every location is different.  For this show, I had to take the windows and two closet doors into consideration as well as the orientation of two padded benches.  Placing the signage was also different.  It went just outside the room, beside the doorway ... as if the title frames from a movie or the title page of a book.  I like the idea that there are no distractions inside the exhibit, just the artwork.

From the start, I knew exactly where I wanted the framed "Angels in Mourning" images, The Book of the Dead its Victrola pedestal, a couple of the largest art quilts, and two suspended pieces.  Then, Steve and I scattered the grave rubbing art quilts all over the floor.

Being able to see the available pieces made the task of hanging easy.  Not every piece got to hang, but the ones that went up look great together.  I didn't bring all the "Angels in Mourning" series pieces.  (There are more than twenty; I brought five.)  I didn't bring black curtains, an altar, either of my two kneelers, or several other items I've used in the past.  I certainly didn't bring The Canopy which was part of Last Words when it hung at the Georgia Agriculture Museum.  That piece is taller than the 10' ceiling in the Caldwell Arts Council!

After all the artwork was on the wall, Steve and I suspended about twenty-four of the forty-three chiffon banners on which collected epitaphs have been stitched.  Most of these panels are sixteen feet in length.  To hang in this space, the top sections were rolled and pinned ... making them short enough for the room.  Having extra long banners makes it possible for me to hang in a variety of locations.

The air conditioning system makes this exhibit simply awesome because the banners do seem to move in the slight breeze.  It is as if a little bit of nature is part of the experience ... just like adding the artificial cemetery petals.  Compare the two photos directly above!  The flowers eliminate the sharp, ninety degree angle of the flooring and white base board less noticeable.  They bring a touch of the colors from a real cemetery into the space.  I like that!

I like the fact that viewers can't help but to notice the epitaphs hanging in the air whether they read them all or not.  This mimics the feeling of walking through a cemetery, being aware of words like "Rest in Peace" and "Gone but not Forgotten".

Please enjoy the rest of the photos, and if you're in the area of Lenoir, North Carolina during this month, please stop by the real thing!


Ann Scott said...

This exhibit looks awesome. As usual such thought provoking work. I'm sure it will be well received, wish I could see it in person. Thanks for sharing the photos here.

Calamity said...

I love seeing the progression of your set up. It is amazing how much work goes into getting ready for the show to open. Let alone how much work goes in to each of your creations.
You have so many facets of your artistic self that can be seen in your many different collections.
It is great following you and Steve in your adventures. I hope that the new year will be filled with even more adventures for you.

Susan Lenz said...

Thanks so much, Calamity, for these kind words about my work and the effort it truly takes to have it seen in public. Happy Holidays and may your 2020 be everything you hope!