The Collectors was part of an exhibition entitled “Here and There” curated by ten Seattle-based artists. The show explored artwork in public places versus art in traditional venues. Each artist created a temporary piece of art in a public setting* as well as a corresponding work at the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA.)
The Yesler Houses, three historic Victorian houses at the corner of 23rd and Yesler in the Central District had been dormant for years. As a resident of the area, I was struck by their presence as metaphors for and witnesses to the continuous changes occurring in the area and gained permission to create an ongoing artwork that brought the houses back to life.
Over the course of several weeks, I excavated the interiors of all three houses, combing the basement floors, going through piles of construction debris, and collecting any objects that remained. The installation at CoCA consisted entirely of everyday objects and material excavated from the houses and served as material traces of the presence and absence of those who lived there.
*For the correlating public work, please see PUBLIC ART, Yesler Houses/The Collectors
a•man•u•en•sis: One employed to take dictation or to copy manuscript. [Latin amanuensis, from (servus) a manu, (slave at hand(writing): ab-, by + manus hand.]
amanuensis, a series of artworks created specifically for three sites on Seattle University campus was inspired by the Jesuits' philosophy – a balance between intellect and intuition, self-reflection and compassion, and their dedication to education with an emphasis on service.
St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, wrote over 7,000 letters during his lifetime. The site-specific installation, 7,000 letters, in the Fine Arts Atrium was inspired by a definition of the sacred: an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace. The presentation of 7,000 envelopes, created a 30' column of light that spilled out of the skylight, down through the mezzanine, and accumulated in the basement of the Fine Arts Building creating a meditative place to enter. Each envelope was “addressed” in longhand with a tallying number, producing a visual manifestation of Ignatius' effort. I viewed this aspect of the work as a "behind the scenes performance" in which each envelope records the action of a process.
In addition to the Atrium installation, a series of devotional objects and reliquaries were shown in two separate galleries. These objects were fabricated of both permanent (bronze, stone) and impermanent materials (roots, leaves, wax, bread) to reflect ideas about the everlasting nature of spirituality and the transient nature of the body. Through a series of casts, using both the molds and the casts, objects examine absence and presence, the perceivable and imperceivable.
ei-det-ic adj. Especially vivid but unreal. Said of images experienced especially in childhood. [German eidetisch, from Greek eidetikos, relating to images or knowledge, from eidesis, knowledge, from eidos, form, shape.]
What instills an object with value? How and why do we commemorate events through objects? I believe that objects have the capacity to serve as a unique trace of a genuine lived experience. An object can act as a memory that carries a particular narrative of time and place and can possibly link us to childhood itself.
I understand collections of personal objects as a means of constructing personal identity. Collections, like human lives, are seldom entirely all they seem and much of their significance or essence is on the inside or in the act of collecting itself. Collected material that comes from one's own past is capable of expressing and embodying profound meaning and deep feelings. Each object acts as a memory that carries a particular narrative of time and place and can serve as a metaphor for the individual life lived.
A site-specific installation and performance about my maternal grandmother, Gertrude who was a victim of domestic violence.