It’s now the morning of the evening of the performance. Two weks agoI met with the dancers. It was the first time I had met Eric Nordstrom and I had met Heidi Dyer a few times before. I was still developing the story. It was exhilarating to see them interact with the space. After that meeting I knew what my hand drawn imagery should look like. I was hold up in my home studio for three days. I used one piece of paper to make 760 drawings. If you know how this process of animating goes then you know I am being a bit dramatic. It goes like this: draw a some, shoot a picture, erase some, draw some, shoot a picture, etc. After that came some exporting and editing-not my favorite part. John began to compose the sounds to accompany it. The dancers met again and worked out their “score” and then we met again, they showed it to me and I showed them the animation. I wanted to cry. I wish I was going to get to see it but I will not! I’ll only see the video. Last night I tried a dry run at the space with my screen. Everything fit the way I imagined but the screen was terrible. At about 9pm I started scouring the internet for how to make a home made rear projection screen. THANK YOU, INTERNET! Two shower curtains later I was back in business. When I got home John said “I’m done”. I said “oh, great, let’s here it”. He said “no, I’m done with the whole thing”. He had finished the editing and re-rendered, added contrast and laid the music on it! I can’t tell you what a relief it was, as we ate dinner at midnight, to watch it excellently back projected, with his awesome sound. Aside from preparing the performance there has been a lecture and reception and I have been interviewed for two short video pieces. While I won’t deny that I have loved the attention, I am really ready to be done! Saturday morning the whole thing comes down. I’d like to film it! That’s going to be my favorite part! Still thinking about that vanity of craft thing, next post.
Here is a link to a review of the show:
I agree with Mr. Jahn, especially his critiques, but I know who I am and I am pleased with what I’ve done. Surely other artists would have done something different with it, surely Mr. Jahn would have, too, but it was mine and I did exactly what I meant to do, raccoons and all. Being in love with craft can be a hard relationship to have in the contemporary art world-but I am! It’s part of the joy of making art for me and I suspect I will always struggle with the “crafty label”. I’m ok with that. I’m particularly interested where he says that craft is vanity. Vanity is rampant in the art world! Why pick on craft? I’m going to think about this for a while but it will likely be the subject of my next post.
I am thrilled to announce that I will be collaborating with two very talented performers for a special closing night performance. This project brought us together and I feel it must be fate. I have always wanted to collaborate with professional performers and, not only has my wish come true, but I feel inspired, enriched and educated in just the short time I have spent with them so far. The performance will take place between 8pm and 9pm on Friday October 26th , in and around the Northview Gallery. The actual performance will last for about 15 minutes, leaving some time to explore the installation as well:
A native Oregonian, Dyer moved to Chicago to earn a degree in Dance from Columbia College Chicago in 1999. After a short stint in Seattle, Heidi moved to Savannah, GA where she taught dance at Hilton Head High School across the river in South Carolina. Two years later, she moved to San Diego where she performed regularly with Head On Off, a dance company committed to creating site-based works incorporating post-modern dance, sound, costuming, and Action Theater. From 2003-2006 Dyer earned her MFA in Dance at the University of Oregon where she taught Modern, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Improvisation as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. There she founded En Masse Arts Ensemble with fellow dancer Sarah Nemecek and composers Aaron Barnhart and Christian Cherry. Her interest in improvisation, contemporary dance, and collaboration molds both her approach to performance and her teaching. Besides a solid foundation in dance technique, Heidi continues to explore alternative forms of training in Action Theater, The Feldenkrais Method, Yoga and a variety of approaches to improvisation using language, voice, and movement. Most recently she performed in The City Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin as part of PICA’s Time Based Art Festival in Portland, Oregon where she serves as a faculty member at PCC Sylvania. Her article “Cultivating Presence in Movement: Student Reflections on the Practice of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement in Dance Education” will be published this September in the Journal of Dance Education.
Eric Nordstrom is a dedicated performer, teacher and film maker. His performances include original work by Bebe Miller, four years with Oslund+Company and creating a full evening improvisation work with Karen Nelson. He has taught at universities and arts organizations including Ohio State University, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts. Recent dance on film works by Eric can be viewed online at www.ppav.me.
It’s done and here are a few pics. You think you are seeing everything but you are not! So come and see it, please. The installation reminds me of this Neruda poem. The poem is not my statement but I just ran into it on the same wavelength:
Ode to Broken Things
Things get broken
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It’s not my hands
It wasn’t the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn’t anything or anybody
It wasn’t the wind
It wasn’t the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn’t even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot
which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.
And that clock
the voice of our lives,
thread of our weeks,
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
and its delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart
Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.
Let’s put all our treasures together
— the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold —
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway
Hi. If you have been trying to reach my website, you may have encountered a problem in the last few days. Something about Comcast blacklisting the IP address. We’re working on resolving it but if you have Comcast, you may not be able to see the site right now. Sorry.
The past week has been pretty busy, only one week until the show opens, but I am trying to keep a 3 part pledge to myself:
- Don’t exhaust myself.
- Maintain sanity.
- Don’t hemorrhage money.
I admit, my eating habits are out the window but I’m consciously reigning them back in. A sculptor’s greatest tool is their body and if it gets overworked or is poorly maintained, it can be dangerous. I mean if I expect to keep doing this I have to work realistically. I’m keeping the schedule I’ve set, within a few hours, and not working myself to complete exhaustion (a kind of tired John and I know as being “Curry” tired after a job we both used to work very hard at). Want to know what I do to take my mind off of things when I’m spent? Aside from gardening (which also feels like work at this time of year), I am memorizing a song for karaoke. I haven’t actually sang karaoke for a few years but I really enjoy learning a challenging song. I am learning Cantaloop by Us3 right now-very difficult. For the second part of the pledge, I am not getting too worked up over whether or not everything that I want to happen happens. It is what it is and it is what I made. What I am is what I am as Edie Brickell said. What do you call an artist that acts like a panicky, fussy “it’s-all-about-me-today” bride? Artistzilla? The truth is, I usually get way more bent out of shape planning an installation than I did planning my wedding (and that thing nearly went off the rails!). And, just like the wedding, I could not pull this off without John’s enduring support and ability to suage cable (that is not a euphemism for the honeymoon)… John seems to like this new, less insane version of me. Us still being in love after the show goes up is really important to me so there’s really no wiggle room on this part of my pledge. The nice thing about being in the space all summer is that I already know how people are reacting to the work. There won’t be this great unveiling where I am waiting for either applause or a solitary cough. That is extremely nerve-wracking. Also, I just feel good about this work and, as I mentioned before in a post, I’ve got this unshakable confidence in what I’m doing that I don’t think I have ever felt before (I might have written that, I probably deleted it). But I do! The final thing that I am avoiding for the last week of this installation is the “money hemorrhage”. Since you never really know what the installation will be until you arrive in the space, it is often necessary to make insane purchases just to get the damn thing to work once you get it there. Since I have had this space all summer I have been able to plan better and get what I need before I need it. The money-letting has been more of a trickle than a flood-which is good, because I’m all out.
All that being said, I need to stop worrying about writing this blog until the show is up. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat down at the computer after a long day-tired, elated, swirling with thoughts, memories and newly discovered connections-and I just couldn’t write anything (as evidenced by my last entry-eloquent it ain’t). I have been asked if I will continue the blog after the show is done and I have to say that’s a big 10-4. Right now I feel confined to talking about this show but I have an art related conversation nearly every day that I’d like to write about. So I’ll be back, soon.
No picture with this post, come see the show September 24th-October 26th! You really do need to experience it in person.Thanks for reading, Vicki
The Northview Gallery presents:
A sculptural installation by Vicki Lynn Wilson
September 24-October 26, 2012
Artist Talk: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 2-3pm
Closing Reception: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 3-5pm
Special Performance: Friday, October 26, 2012, 8-8:45pm
Vicki’s Project Blog: https://vickilynnwilsonartist.wordpress.com
Vicki’s website: www.vickilynnwilson.net
Northview Gallery Address: 12000 SW 49th Ave. Portland, OR 97219 CT Building, Rm 214
Northview Gallery Hours: 8-4pm Monday-Friday and by appointment
Northview Gallery site: http://www.pcc.edu/about/galleries/sylvania/
Recently I am reminded of another dream I used to have. It was a dream where I was standing in my mentor’s home (that would be Retha Walden Gambaro, a sculptor who I apprenticed to when I was 16-19 years old). In the dream she had piled all of her furniture and the belongings from her home in the center of the room. She was holding a lit torch and crying and asking me if I would set the fire for her. She wanted to burn everything she owned but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. This little sculpture, called “Honoring the Request”, was part of my MFA thesis work. I’m reminded how much of this dream is still with me in this imagery. I think of burning this work. I think about Retha often (or Mrs. Gambaro as I would have always respectfully called her). I recently read an article from the New York Times and, though it was about a retrospective of her work, it alluded to her declining cognitive health. She may not remember the work that she has made. My heart hurts so much when I think that she won’t remember what she did with her life and how she impacted a young woman who was finding her way.
“Honoring the Request”, 2006. Charred Polymer Clay and Wax.