12 September 2008

The “white work”

Have you been curious about the studio work I started back in January when I had that weird vision of a gallery show in shades of white and then promptly papered my walls with Post-it notes about all things white? (See blogpost "Lo Studio" in January.) Did you think, “The girl has snapped her cap for sure” when you read that post?

Let me assure you: my cap is fully intact, and the work is coming along beautifully. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Well, perhaps I could if I had access to the supplies and materials locked up and languishing in my Brooklyn studio. I dream of getting my paint-smeared mitts on things like my faux snow collection, my window frost paint, and my silvery Dresden scrap. I long to visit Michael’s Arts & Crafts on Staten Island and linger in my favorite aisles until closing time.

Still, I’ve done pretty well with what I could scare up here. Remember this prediction from the “recipe” I scribbled that first night?: Everything you need is here or close by. Lots of useful things just fell into my hands – a Lambswool blanket label stuck to my boot one windy day, a bunch of giant glass pearls turned up in Santa Maria del Giglio’s trash barrel. And I also had the generous help of my lovely friend Erica: twice she brought me a Santa Claus sack full of white goodies to inspire me. Just like Christmas morning!

The work proceeded in fits and starts, taking four directions. First there were “bridge” pieces, very much like the work I had already been doing, but in white now. Then came things I can only describe as “kid stuff” – games and toys, not too cerebral. Next were pieces with recognizable elements but unclear intentions, and finally, purely abstract pieces that I could swear are coming from some mind other than my own – but I like them well. It seems I will never get to the end of all the “white ideas” that bubble up almost everyday.

Like my earlier work, most things are shadowboxes and deep frames, to be hung up or placed on a table surface. Also I have been building cardboard boxes, meant to sit on a shelf at eye level. And there is a first group of seven freestanding pieces based on santos, but currently their construction is stalled for want of a carpenter’s assistance. I still have no clue what will happen with any of these things I’ve made (although a few people have already expressed interest in buying one piece or another, even in unfinished states).

I show you here the first white piece I completed, called Shallow Bath.

No, you can’t get me to tell you what it’s about, nor why I wanted to make it. The best part of the whole process has been this development: I no longer fear showing my work to anyone, and I have no compulsion to explain or justify it. So you’re on your own!