Monday, January 15, 2018

Nasty Woman Exhibition at Yakima Maker Space

Resist Bulb in progress
Come see my NEW work in the Nasty Woman show this coming Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Yakima Maker Space. The opening starts at 6pm and there will be live music and TWO interactive art pieces. I have no idea what they are, but can't wait to find out. One of the interactive pieces will be done by my talented friend, Kelly McKnight.

I have an installation of 30 Resist Bulbs in the exhibition, the composition similar to my last installation at YMS, but with a very different subject and intent. Some of these new Protest/Resist/Patriot Bulbs (I've been playing with titles) were shown previously at Larson Gallery for the Membership Exhibition, but some are new, including several with the First Amendment text stamped onto them.

First Amendment bulbs being darkened with oil (I had some trouble with the surface color)

I worked on the bulbs during the summer, with an eye to this exhibition at Yakima Maker's Space in January. The exhibition coincides with the one year anniversary of the Women's March. This year Yakima will hold another Women's March on January 20. I'll see you there before the YMS Nasty Woman show.


I started making the bulbs last year for this Nasty Woman exhibition, but also in reaction to the current administration and the divisive political climate we now live in every day. I felt, for the first time, really, that I couldn't not address current events in my work, which has usually remained abstract, inspired by nature, and fairly apolitical.


I started these pieces because I felt I had to--for me--but three opportunities have come along this year because of these pieces. I had spoken with Eunsil Kim, the curator and organizer of the YMS Nasty Woman show early last year. Over the summer, while discussing plans for a different show down in Hood River at the Columbia Center for the Arts, I was invited to show these pieces in CCA's Art as Activism show coming up this March (I install in Oregon the day after the YMS show closes).

#SayHerName Sandra Bland

The third opportunity came as a bit of a surprise. I applied to talk about these works, and, in particular the urge to transition from abstract to narrative work given the current political climate, in a short presentation at the NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) Conference in Pittsburg.

Flint Water

And here I am, writing about the showing of the work, but skimming over the content of the work. Content, especially content that is not meant to be wholly open to interpretation, is something I haven't had to address much in talking or writing about my work, as it has pretty much always been abstract, ambiguous, and personal, not to mention not my main source of income. 


These bulbs are ambiguous up to a point, but taken together my intent is certainly to make people think about a particular set of issues, most of which have I have strong views about. Some of the topics, like gerrymandering, dirty water in Flint, pollution and police violence come across fairly unambiguously just in a single image. Others, I have designed to be unambiguous, by showing the Monopoly man hoarding money and by collecting some of 45's less impressive tweets and statements in one place.


I also have bulbs in this collection that are simply images of symbols of our country that are worth preserving and considering in our calls to action, such as the flag, the first amendment, and the Capitol Building. 

US Flag
There has been fairly little publicity about the Nasty Woman show (PSA, be careful Googling this show) at Yakima Maker Space and one theory was that the YMS wanted to avoid controversy because of the tone of this show. (I suspect lack of paid staffing is the more likely culprit for the missing advertising.) However, I've found more than one person discussing the exhibition by downplaying the controversy and politics and focusing on the raising up of women's voices. True, some of the work is not explicitly political, but I think mine is fairly clear, at least if one spends any time with the work.

First Amendment, Trapped
As you can tell by my writing about it, I'm still working out what it means to begin making political work now, but I am hoping that by the time I have these two shows done and am ready to present at the NCECA Conference, I'll have a more comprehensive view of the work and its reception. Help me out: come talk to me about the work at the YMS opening this coming Saturday. Or, you know, reply here or on Facebook. I'd actually love to hear from people (ahem, not from Trolls).

Installation view of part of the earlier iteration of this work at Larson Gallery

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