As I have been out of school (and the accompanying "homework") for quite a while now, it is always challenging when a project comes up that needs to be executed within certain parameters. Last year, I was asked to participate in Hand To Hand, a project conceived by Atlanta artist Cecelia Kane. Each artist was given a specific week, and had to take one headline about the Iraq war from each day and respond to it. The work was supposed to be executed in our own visual vocabulary, but also be specifically about a particular news story, as opposed to a general piece against the war. We were given 6 white cotton gloves, one for each day of our week (minus Sunday), and two to experiment with. I had April 2-7, 2007. The hands reference prayer, and the gloves are displayed en masse and are meant to be seen as a kind rosary bead when placed side by side. Here are some pics of a previous installation: in this case, Cecelia did all of these gloves herself, but as the war has gone on, she has enlisted other artists to help her. I decided a while back that I was going to dye most of my gloves. There was a point at which I thought I would do all of them using my own kid gloves because they are more skin-like, like my 2001 Psychological Clothing piece "Bleed.", but another artist did that last year. I dyed my gloves a while back, and did the preliminary painting, but, like everything else I do, I could not let them go until I embellished them a bit more.
This article was about the findings that there was no link between Al Queda and Saddam:
This article was about the Democrats refusing to approve more $$ for the war:
This was an article about a specific army guy who made a point of visiting every wounded and dying man he heard of. You can't really see that I embellished the painting with gold thread:
Sorry for the bad photo: shot these on the fly before boxing and Fed Exing. This was the story about McCain visiting the market. I photoshopped 3 pics together, printed them out and applied it to the glove, them embroidered a TV set around the image:
This was about those British soldiers who were captured, put against a wall and blindfolded... they thought they were going to die:
This one turned out way too cute for the tragic story about a soldier who had a VERY difficult early life, joined the army, became blind, got PTSD, an amputation, has become violent, and is now in jail. I used the intense vermilion velvet from 2 weeks for the fingertips:
Working with the very thin, fragile and stretchy fabric was a challenge, as was embroidering on the gloves without taking out the seams. While I was barely working on art last week, I was doing a lot of thinking about the Formalism vs. Conceptualism debate that was going on at Ed Winkleman's last week. I have known for a while now that every time I start a project with only a concept, with an agenda, the work is a failure. It is only when I start with an excitement about the materials, the light quality, or some other formal problem, and the concept develops alongside that, changing and deepening as the work is conceived, that my work is successful.
For example, I am still deciding what is going to go in the middle of this piece:
I have a few ideas, and I am entertaining new ones, but I am IN LOVE with this flesh colored velvet, sensually bulging out like flesh from between the embroidered veins:
Louise Bourgeois said that "all art is a seduction", and I feel confident that if I can't keep my hands and eyes off of this, that others will certainly feel the same way.
The newest Hand to Hand exhibition opens March 6th (6-9pm) at the Spruill Gallery in Atlanta. I am so looking forward to seeing the show, but will not be there for the opening.
Onward. Hair embroideries with breaks for playing.