I can articulate now that this installation is my expression of compassion for those who are suffering from the loss of their homes and other objects. Objects become so significant to us when they take on symbolic qualities, when the memory of something that lived becomes associated with an object-and the house is an object, too. For me, the home I lived in, in Virginia, from age 13-18 was extremely significant for me. I became a woman, an adult and an artist in that house. I experienced love and death for the first time in that house. I remember my father best in that house-at his prime. I moved to the West Coast when I was 20 and within a few years, my parents moved from that house and it was torn down to make a new road. When I visit Virginia I still look for the one section of our backyard fence that marks the spot next to the road. I struggled with that loss. It was like losing a member of my family. I still visit my family in Virginia but I never was able to go “home” again once that house was gone .
My statement for the show reads “the inspiration lies in the psychological suggestion that the soul is a home”…
The other night I dreamed, as I often do, of a home that is my soul. This time it was in an extremely high rise apartment building that was under renovation. I heard my neighbors complaining about the lack of facilities. The elevator had been removed as had many of their sinks, toilets and showers. All of these areas were just open holes that went down infinite stories of the building-I suppose all the way to the basement. I was doing OK- but then, I, too, was robbed of my facilities. To make matters worse, I found myself sharing the apartment with my 98 year old granddad. He was 98 in 1993, the year he died. This is relevant to me. For granddad’s sake, I started looking for some sort of building manager to restore our comforts. In doing so I found myself on another floor of the building which was beyond affluence and I was in the middle of a very fancy party. I was offered a delicious looking cocktail by a waiter but once I had begun drinking it, I was informed that it actually belonged to someone very important and that I should leave. I did find a manager, however. He gave me a brochure to show me what the new apartment would look like but had no projections for when it would be done. He also had brochures with pictures of the old apartment I was already in. Why would he have those?
OK, don’t read too much into this. I’ll do that.
I’m glad I had this dream. My soul is undergoing some renovations. It’s a good reminder to stay the course of this project, that it is a fertile and relevant subject. It’s actually very hopeful in some ways.
Well, I’ve completed the first week of this residency much the way I expected. Whenever I get a new workspace there is a long period of breaking it in. I need it to feel homey (a real task in the Northview). It needs a big messy project and friends to kick things off (like a giant tiger mini-golf hole made of pallet wood-much thanks to John Larsen and Scott Mazariegos for that madness!) Then I need supplies and references. It just seems to take forever to get all of the supplies. After all of that I was able to start making some sculptures at the end of Friday. So what is the first thing sculpted for a 1900 square foot installation?
I think I just need to warm up, start small while I’m figuring some things out.
I have been wondering what the connection might be between creating this work-about home and objects-in the space it will be shown. Creating work in the gallery, I feel like an animal in the zoo (heightened by the glass walls on either side). I feel displaced from my normal studio experience. I am without my comforts, chief among them: my dog, my garden and outdoor workspace (crucial in the summer), John’s keyboard clicking and NPR in the next room (and that extra set of eyeballs and hands when I need them), my PJ’s-should I choose to work before I am dressed in the morning, my constant companion of coffee, tea and kitchen to graze within. I have NPR but it echoes around the huge room and I am hardly able to follow. I have very minimally simulated my natural habitat but, I admit, I am uncomfortable and I wish I had all of my things. I wish I were at home.