Last month I went to Washington, DC to install work at Honfleur Gallery in Anacostia. The show called ‘Wavelengths’ was curated by the ‘wonder twins’, Mary Cook and Alison Nance of Microwave Project. It included Jessica Braiterman (PA), Gretchen Schermerhorn (DC), Yasmin Spiro (NYC) , Alexandra Radocchio Zealand (DC). Unfortunatley I didn’t get to see the work of two of the four artists in the show, before I left, but I did get to meet the very cool Alex Zealand whose work I so totally loved. She also very kindly filmed this clip of my installation:
An artist friend (Simone) recently posted this link to ’25 abandoned Yugoslav monuments that look like they are from the future’. I can’t stop looking at these – they seem like they are part of some bizarre Buckminster Fuller fantasy. They are so weighted with the symbolism of the moment in which they were built, and live on as eerie memorials of that time. [Also, my grandparents were from Yugoslavia and my grandmother an artist - although she never formally practiced as an artist. I'm curious about the culture that formed them - it's one I know so little about.]
During the 60s’ and 70s’ former president of Yugoslavia, Tito wanted to show the world the strength and con fi dence of the Social ist Repub lic by having sculptors and architects building those (very futuristic) monuments com mem orat ing the Sec ond World War. This series entitled Spomenik was photographed by Jan Kempenaers. Today these sculptures now in ruins are located in Croa tia, Serbia, Slove nia and Bosnia.
These works are the result of sculptors and architects such as Dušan Džamonja , Vojin Bakic , Miodrag Zivkovic, Jordan and Iskra Grabul , names mean little to most of us, but at the time were at the center of Slavic cultural movement .
I also stumbled upon these Pod Cities in Sanzhi, Taiwan. The story here is bizarre, as they were never actually lived in. According to the Wikipedia post:
The UFO houses were constructed beginning in 1978.They were intended as a vacation resort in a part of the northern coast adjacent to Danshui, and were marketed towards U.S. military officers coming from their East Asian postings.However, the project was abandoned in 1980 due to investment losses and several car accident deaths during construction, which is said to have been caused by the unfortuitous act of bisecting the Chinese dragon sculpture located near the resort gates for widening the road to the buildings.Other stories indicated that the site was the former burial ground for Dutch soldiers.
I’m really excited about this quarterly mag – ARC – started by two Caribbean artists – Nadia Huggins and Holly Bynoe. This is from the ‘about’ page for ARC (www.arcthemagazine.com):
ARC Magazine is a quarterly Caribbean Art and Culture print and e-magazine published out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines by artists Nadia Huggins and Holly Bynoe. We are endeavouring to form a creative platform to offer insight into current practices across the burgeoning creative industries, while bridging the gap between established and emerging artists. Within the recent motions of integration there is a critical space developing where, for the first time, we can envision a converging nexus of artists who want to share their creative experience.
image by ARC's featured artist Radcliffe Roye from Jamaica
I love that in the ‘Plant Registry’ each plant gets equal attention and it’s history is recorded. Some people read People magazine, I read ‘Wayward Plants’. Anyway, I love the idea and really enjoyed reading the little stories and their connections to people. There is even a ,” Cutting from a Jamaican neighbor after she cut her lawn.”
Artist Patrick Dougherty has been working on his woven-wood sculptures – Lairs – at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I can’t wait to go and take my little girl. He has been working on them for the past few weeks. Its so nice to see this happening there and it’s such a ‘natural’ fit. I always thought it would be a wonderful place to make work. I’ve been working on new pieces that are ‘pod cities’ and have to do with finding safety through our environment and connecting it to concepts from the 50′s and 60′s about futuristic homes and city spaces. These works have a dreamy, fantasy quality that make me feel like a kid again.
I’m really looking forward to working with Tricia Fay from FGCU and the students there to complete the installation for the Caribbean Encounters show. My work often uses discarded materials, and most recently materials from abandoned housing and infrastructure. Ms. Fay has gotten her students involved and they are contributing by bringing in found wood. As well, some of her staff has sourced a truckload of wood paneling that has been weathered. I’m really excited about going down there and combing through the wood and then sourcing my own from the community surrounding the school. The invite for the show is seen below and links to the site for the exhibit.
Close Encounters: Contemporary Art by Caribbean Women opens February 18th at Florida Gulf Coast University. I’ll be heading down there in a week to build/install my piece “Tracks”. This will a sculpture/video installation using found and salvaged wood, and video work that uses old footage of the railways lines and cars, and film I took myself.
I’ve been working on this piece (in big and small ways) over the past few years. I went to Jamaica in August to get footage of and from the remaining (functioning) railway line in Jamaica. Traveling by trolley from Spanish Town to Ewarton – for approximately two hours. Trolley seen here:
I’m owe a big thank you to the Jamaica Railway Corporation for providing me with the opportunity to do this.
I have a mini obsession with vertical nature walls. So I was excited to see this in the NYTimes about growing green. IN PORTLAND, GROWING VERTICAL
I’ve used vertical grass walls in my work (see here) and recently they have been popping up everywhere in art and design publications. They are a kind of visual and psychological escape from the gritty landscape of cities, and are suggestive of secret gardens or overgrown ruins.
James Griffioen of the blog Sweet Juniper has been documenting the deterioration of urban Detroit and taking these amazing photos of areas of the city that are becoming completely overgrown and reclaimed by nature.
Its funny that this simple beauty is what happens when we just disappear, and is what the project outlined in the article, aims to spend millions to achieve. Still worth it I think. Clearly all the kinks are not worked out yet, but hopefully this plan will become a reality.
I’ll be heading down to Florida to work on an installation in mid February for a show of Contemporary Art by Caribbean Women. The other artists in the show are Annalee Davis (Barbados), Babette Wainwright (Haiti), Elsa Mora (Cuba), Yunia Pavon, (Cuba), Ana Mendieta (Cuba. On loan from the Miami Art Museum) and myself (Jamaica). I’m really looking forward to the making of the work and the opening.
Contemporary Art by Caribbean Women
guest curated by FGCU Associate Professor of Art, Patricia Fay