All original images and text are copyright 2008-2018 Liz Sweibel

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Revealing the Ordinary

Tomorrow I begin installing Revealing the Ordinary at Gallery Korea, amidst an enormous amount of busy-ness and tumult.  Natural disasters (an earthquake and Hurricane Irene), a bathroom gut renovation, and the start of classes (I'm teaching five plus a seminar plus mentoring plus an administrative role plus ...) have fostered a dense environment where all my energy goes to meeting my essential commitments.  Installing this show feels like - and requires - moving into another world, and I am using this evening to settle and open my pores.  One evening!

Turns out the exhibit is much more open-ended than I knew, as the curators have invited me to bring all the work I submitted and other work I would like to include for their consideration.  I will be designing the exhibit independently and able to do the site work that will help snap the exhibit into the present.  With only three artists in the show, I will have a generous space.  The quality and nature of this opportunity are sinking in.  Tomorrow I get to work in real space and make new work that will be seen.

Part of what's snapped me to attention is learning that my dear, dear friend Maysey Craddock has an opening the night after mine at Nancy Margolis Gallery and will be in town from Memphis.  She will be at mine and I will be at hers.  I only learned this yesterday, and it has drawn a quick line from my present absorptions to the time when my work had my full attention - in graduate school with Maysey and before and after those years.  That's not been the case in awhile, and her presence and faith in me is, for lack of a better word, inspiring.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Things are changing.  I've had some meetings with curators recently, and the fallout is as it should be:  new questions, old questions made new.  For the first time, I'm working with literal imagery, and it's a whole new set of problems.  Decisions need another kind of consideration.  And it's fascinating to me that this is happening.  Why, now, does working with anything but literal subject matter seem ... irrelevant?  That's not a comment on my past work (or my future work), but on today.  I clearly need fresh language, yet I can't quite tell what it's trying to get at.  My underlying concerns are the same in the ways they have to be, but seem to be expanding, taking more into consideration.  It's not just our relationships with one another, and those moment-to-moment decisions we make that add up to so much, but the entire system and its vulnerability.  Ultimately, everything can be swept away, whether by a lacerating comment or a tsunami.  I can't go further with this yet but the seeds feel right.

I have an exhibit opening September 7, Revealing the Ordinary at Gallery Korea, which will include some older work.  I've always made site work or shown very recent pieces in exhibits, so this is a first.  (There may be a site piece; I'm not sure yet.)  For months I've been questioning my ambition to show in traditional gallery spaces, yet when I saw the announcement on the gallery site and sent word out to my community, the process (and the responses) thrilled me.  I mean thrilled me.  And that made me laugh at myself because my flirtation with disinterest in gallery exhibits has to be in part protective.  More accurate is that they are not my only interest, but the visibility they afford is important and rewarding and desirable.