Several months ago I was invited to create a piece about my relationship with my mother for an exhibit curated by Esther Hong that opens Friday 9.4.15 at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art (IGCA) in Anchorage. My old stomping grounds. How could I refuse. Grateful for the invitation. Grateful for the inspiration and creative direction. Now what –?
Beauty Betty Bingo –that much I knew. Maybe a hand of euchre or two. Are those special cards or regular? I really didn’t know. Later my family laughed when I told them I went on Amazon trying to buy a Euchre deck. I checked Walgreens and CVS too.
It’s a Michigan thing.
Since January I have been working with natural linen, pieces of canvas, old and new photographs, negatives and discarded silk in the vein of a Primitive Seamstress. I decided to continue with this materiality. Initially cutting and stitching all these disparate materials together as some kind of scroll. Attach them to an old wooden rolling pin. What about that vintage potato masher? That might be cool. We ate a lot of potatoes growing up –I’ve been wanting to do scrolls with rolling pins for years. . .but alas it was not to be. A friend made a suggestion and the idea developed. Bingo! As it does. Literally. Art morphs.
Somewhere in all this stitching my stepfather died. The family gathered.
There were decisions to make in the execution and later in the installation. The negatives made it too stiff for rolling but not for hanging and so hang they will but by line or by chain or some cool miniature hardware that would make it look –well finished? I tend more toward the conceptual. Lots of undone and nothing exact so I let that go. Clips and clothespins. Keep it simple. Keep it real. The theme of a photograph still developing. Our relationship still developing. Love you mom and so happy you’re still here and alive in the world. The clothesline works to represent both the rural America of my childhood and the line where photographs are hung to dry in a darkroom. So many metaphors. Memories. The tangle of threads. A button. A live birth. A game of cards. A gamble. Stitching a life together. Love. The beauty. All that laundry.
I hope you can make the opening –and if you do–Thank you!!
Brenda is a visual artist and occasional poet currently living in Santa Fe, NM. Her piece: Beauty Betty Bingo: Still Developing is part of an invitational group exhibition opening at the IGCA this week in Anchorage, Alaska.