This is the first art show I’ve been in since 2014 and the first show I’ve co-curated (along with Rusty Cook, Chad Kouri, and Elisabeth Hass) for multi-disciplinary space, Lost Arts. Elisabeth approached me and Chad to come up with some programming to help spread the word about their new space and this is what we came up with.
We wanted a concept that that addressed Lost Arts as a raw industrial space that’s equal parts community center, classroom, art studio, gallery, and party zone. And we also wanted to this event to bring together various groups of artists and designers who might not otherwise interact and charge them with using Lost Arts various tools like the wood working machines, 3D printers, laser cutters, screen printing facilities, sewing machines, jewelry making equipment, and more.
From there we arrived at Shape/Shift as the theme behind the show. It’s about being in flux either creatively or through one’s identity, and the murky middle areas between all of society’s labels. Male or female? Black or White? Gay or straight? Rich or poor? Designer or developer? Artist or businessperson? Introvert or extrovert? I’m exhausted by watching so many people, myself included, contort ourselves to fit these polarizing terms especially because they have different and varying definitions. So this night is about tossing all that aside, and reframing what might have been a boundary in the past as a bridge or portal to a future that’s clearer and more flexible for us all. That’s why I chose the windows as the basis for this piece.
A window is normally a thing we are either inside or outside of. Traditionally they are viewed as a dividing line between worlds. Instead, I want to make them an opportunity, a vision for the future. The piece is also a metaphor for Lost Arts as a whole, as a place people come to cross-pollinate beyond their creative confines.
[Interior/exterior installation shots]
Using cut sheet acrylic, reminiscent of the reverential feel of stained glass, the piece is inspired by the lenses and emotional “barriers” that one experiences in the process of coming out or accepting one’s identity. Invoking shapes used on nautical flags for navigation and communication as a reminder to mind the signs, marvel at the journey, and to brave the waters with good friends.
One visual reference for this came from one of my favorite artists, Barbara Kasten (above). She builds these incredible intensely colored scenes full of MC Escher-like perspectives, angles, and reflections and then photographs them so they become a two-dimensional representation of sculpture. Talk about layers! Dang.
Also, from Le Mary Celeste, a tapas restaurant in Paris that I found with my mom back in June. They had this transparent vinyl on the windows (above) and the way it tinted the light as the sun set over our shoulder was so lovely. There’s something very cat-like about basking in a batch of colored light that I wanted to capture here.
Quite proud of this, because for so long I wasn’t confident in my non-client work or didn’t feel like the art I was producing had much direction, or was competing with my design practice. It took the better part of a year of independent sketching, painting, journaling, and simmering off and on for this to shift (heh, pun intended). And to be off the computer and build something that will live in a three-dimensional space is super gratifying because it’s the opposite of writing email or code. So! That’s what I’ve been working on. You’ll have to either come to the opening or stay tuned for the end result. 😀
Thanks for stopping by today!! (Go CUBS!)
[Photos by Rusty Cook, moi, and Debbie Labedz]