Sunday, December 30, 2012

Yakima River Diaries

Before Christmas I installed some work for an upcoming show. Yakima River Diaries opens January 10, 2013 with a reception at 4pm (yes, that is a Thursday afternoon). The show will be in the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery at Central Washington University. The show features artists whose work relates to water and specifically to the Yakima River. The other artists are John Clymer, Robert Fisher, Justin Gibbens, Anna Hoover, Louis Kollmeyer, Cynthia Krieble, Nickolus Meisel, Greg Pierce and Derek Young. There will be an associated exhibition at the Museum on they CWU campus.

I haven't seen any of the other work yet, as I was the first to install. I believe the other work will be installed during the first week of January (this week). I do know several of the artists and am familiar with others with the work of others. Bob Fisher teaches drawing and painting at Yakima Valley Community College with me. Greg Pierce is a ceramic instructor at Columbia Basin Community College and I have a print (of the Tieton River Canyon) by Justin Gibbens in my dining room.

My section of the gallery. We moved the TV.

The show is set up so that each artist is in a different section of the gallery. Bob Fisher's work will apparently be in a temporary room built for the show. When I was at the gallery his room was in the process of being built and painted. 

Unfortunately when I was there to install my work the light was not great. My area was actually quite dark, but the curator and gallery staff will set up the lights before the show opens. I was able to install my work, though the lack of light made it a little tricky to determine color relationships in the installation. When I looked at my photos later I realized that the existing lighting made my photos look indistinct and dull.

My installation work laid out as I began to plan the installation.

Before I got to the gallery, I knew I was going to put up an installation on the wall similar to my installation last year at Larson Gallery, but I didn't have a great sense of the gallery space until I arrived.
I brought all the work I still have from the Kekino installation in the "From the Ground Up" show last winter as well as some pieces I made this summer. I sold several pieces from the previous installation but, anticipating that I would make a similar installation eventually, I made a few new pieces designed to hang on the wall. I was asked to participate in the "Yakima River Diaries" show in October of this year.

"Kekino" installation from February 2012.
When I arrived at the gallery the curator suggested that I might consider wrapping my installation around the corners. Since this sort of flowing arrangement was something I had wanted to try anyway, I took his suggestion and planned my installation accordingly. I discovered, however, that it is harder to plan a bending wall installation than a flat wall installation. Normally I lay my work out on the floor in a similar order to how they will be hung on the wall. It is then just a matter of picking up the work and hanging it vertically in the same arrangement as it was in on the floor.

My work on the floor arranged for installation.
With an installation that comes out at you, it can't just be laid out on the floor because it will bend toward the viewer as it moves onto the second wall surface. It is harder to gauge those sorts of relationships because laid out on the floor doesn't offer that third dimension for planning. I also discovered that the pieces look different when viewed from a 3/4 angle than when viewed from straight on. Though I have photographed my installations from an intense angle, the side view is not the standard view of the work.

This installation moves from wall to wall around the corner.

Despite the lighting and spacial planning challenges, I think I am happy with the finished installation, though I neglected to get a picture of the finished installation. The planning and set up took closer to 5 or 6 hours to complete instead of the 2 or 3 hours I had hoped to spend. I set up and installed work for a while before going for lunch and then I installed for several hours when I returned. It was exhausting in an unusual way, since the actual lifting and hammering wasn't difficult. I felt anxious every time I hammered in a nail or set a piece on a screw. I also felt anxious every time I made a placement decision on the wall. By the end of the day I was getting tired and I forgot to be anxious when hammering in a final nail. As a result of carelessness, I shook a piece loose and it fell and broke on the floor. That was about the time I decided I was done.

This installation relates to the pedestal piece on the right (poorly lit in this photo).

Besides the wall installation, I have some work on pedestals. The pedestals weren't placed or out when I was up there, but I was able to move in one to get a sense of the relationship between my standing pieces and my wall installation. My plan is to go back at the end of this week to bring a few more standing pieces, make some placement decisions and take some pictures.

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