Curtains, Dividers, and Scrims
Projects exploring the space between the two of you. And the two of us.
Fibre Optic Curtain
42 x 60 x 2 inches. LEDs, fabric. 2005.
Matchmaker Hanging Screen
96 x 78 x 2 inches. hand cut red oak plywood, fishing line, red oak veneer, acrylic rod. 1997.
Of course, Zen poetry and Taoist tomes encourage creating and embracing emptiness within. This body-as-"empty vessel" concept allows space for a life to fill with new nourishing and rewarding people, things, and ideas. Here, Matchmaker Hanging Screen celebrates physical voids, literal pockets of emptiness. Perhaps objects that appear to be dividers actually afford opportunities for people to connect? (An interesting note on the making process: Yes, the screen was made long before the laser cutter became an everyday tool. I cut the shape and a slit in the 1/4" plywood on both edges of each piece on the band saw. Next, I veneered over each raw edge of plywood leaving a small gap inside in which slid Alaska-sturdy 5-pound fishing line to connect the pieces.)
my curtains puddle in places i didn't know i had
96 x 78 x 2 inches. ink, sheer polyester fabric. 2010.
Based on the puddling curtain typology in design history, this installation features a map of the changing courses of the Mississippi River from a survey in 1940. This curtain was featured in a show titled "Women and Water Rights: Rivers of Regeneration" (curated by legendary curator Lucy Lippard). The exhibit was installed just adjacent to the Mississippi River at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I, too, lived next to the River and relished in its fascinating charging current of powerful and invigorating energy.
The curtain was accompanied by poems I selected by women who used water imagery to address their emotional depletion in oft gendered life roles. Puddling curtains, by nature installed in interior spaces, inhabit the domestic home, a space that, for better or worse, has historically been associated with women.
Women and Water Walk (event that accompanied above exhibition)
Gallery visitors could take away maps for this self-directed activity, a 4-mile walk around the adjacent Mississippi River. In developing countries, the average women walks 4 miles carrying 40 pounds every day to bring water to her community. I dug in historic archives around the city and unearthed locations, marked on the maps, of significant moments and accomplishments of gutsy women of the American Mid-West.