Friday, March 09, 2012

Flotsam: An Installation

More on that week in Bonaire very soon. But for today, it's all about the possibility of new work. New work titled, for the moment, 'Flotsam.' I experienced such a surge of creative energy this afternoon, with one idea coming right after another, that I must share. My studio is a wreak with fabrics and ribbons and stones and photos covering every surface. Can hardly see the floor.
These photos may not convey what's in my head, but I've got notes for each and if I had several long tables, I'd be setting up shop right away to begin work on all simultaneously. The pieces are that clear in my head. Of course, things will muddy up once in progress and I'll begin to think I'll never make another collage or assemblage, ever again. But at this moment, I feel I've laid out a whole show and it seems that it will involve a lot of hand sewing. What's that about, I wonder? The need for handwork?
Here are the beginnings of wall hangings with a few notes.
I had a visit this morning with Sehba Sarwar over a cup of green tea at my kitchen table. She is the director of Voices Breaking Boundaries. Right now she is working on an installation piece with five other artists about the worldwide massive assault on women. Sehba commandeered a neighborhood home for a weekend installation, now scheduled for the end of April. She invited me to be a part of the weekend.
In a prior home installation/performance that she showed me, she used a lot of Pakistani fabrics. I immediately thought of a fabric wall hanging as fabric wall hangings have been coming and going in my mind for weeks now. This morning's conversation tipped me over the edge.
This afternoon, I pulled out a length of red velvet that I've kept wrapped in plastic because it leaves red lint on anything it touches. However, it seems to have the drama for a vertical wall piece about women. And if it sheds, then the shedding could be turned into a metaphor for something yet to be decided.
I have a half dozen round lens that an optician might have used years ago. I picture them tied to the piece with narrow black cotton twill. Viewers can put a lens over their eye and see 'something.' Perhaps something in a round black frame in the center of the piece, perhaps the something will be a mirror and they will see themselves.
I added in two somber looking black/white test strips from a photo taken in Capula, Mexico, which could be stitched to the piece. Add some flattened rusty cans attached with embroidery floss or fine wire.
Then I began to think about attaching a traditional 'Queen Elizabeth II' black purse to the piece to symbolize women's space - which of course goes back to the piece I did for FotoFest in 2000 called, "Mama Said" and to the Weave Dance Co, collaboration. Like the return of the purse. I could put a pile of black purses on the floor at the foot of the piece. So many women.
Then I wondered about pairing this wall hanging with a collaged piece I made years ago for an early FotoFest - perhaps in 1988? A shadow box holds the pink body of a doll. Where her head should be is a froth of silver Christmas ball ornaments and streamers. Criss-cross threads are pinned across her. She is caught. If I use this piece, then the red velvet wall hanging must soar - no victim. Pain, yes. Strength, yes. But no victim.
The final piece may not look anything at all like what these first thoughts suggest. I'll see where the process leads. I am delighted to have a deadline.
There are more pieces floating in my head. Here are their visual beginnings:
Just above is a piece of linen I found recnetly. ES painted those mermaids twenty three years ago during that steamy summer we shared. Long ago, it was to be made into a vest. Now, I kind of like it as a whole with some embellishments.

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