I remember when I was reviewing my poetry thesis with my professor in graduate school she encouraged me to start sending the manuscript out to publishers soon. She warned that in just a few years it would feel dated to me and I'd no longer be interested in sharing it with the world. Not with the same excitement and urgency that comes from new work.
She was right: Complicated manuscript did not get any less complicated with time but it did get less urgent and happier to stay timidly tucked away in my file cabinet. I think maybe that's part of what I'm most interested in with this show: It's based on that manuscript of poetry but it isn't about poems. Instead, it's about the world of the poems. The questions in the poems. The images and characters and frustrations and intimacies that live in those poems. The complications of the poems or the parts that are most difficult to represent. Thankfully, all of these things can live inside of poems.
But turning these poems into work that can be experienced in 3-dimension has been another complication. But I've decided to let it be complicated. I'm turning my attention to the details. I've become somewhat of an expert on 1950s day dresses available in local vintage shops and on Ebay. Finally, I've purchased two--one for each of the performers. Next on the list is making a storyboard for the video content and selecting images for silkscreens. With just three weeks to go? Yes, with just three weeks to go. I'm actually not too worried about the timing--it feels oddly manageable.
I feel like I'm watching it all come to life like a viewer--asking silent questions, drawing my own conclusions, and trying to absorb all the various elements in the room. In some ways, I'm just trying to get out of the way and let the work have enough space to breathe. I have to trust that I've thought about the details and the questions enough times, from enough angles, with enough various microscopes that now the bravest act is to just let it be. To create enough space around the work so that it can still draw from intuition and simply take form.
I am concentrating on the stitches, the framing, the pattern in the fabrics and how they work together, the behind-the-scenes details of press releases and documentation, and then just letting these details keep my head and hands busy. For some reasons, I am less afraid of getting it wrong this time. I am less afraid of critique. I feel like this moment is one very important moment in a long lifetime of making art. Maybe it's because I've been reading this thesis for 7 years, looking at these images for 2 years, and thinking about this show for just a few months. Maybe it's just the continuum. Maybe that just makes it easier to keep making.
So...If you're in Oakland, I hope you'll join me on Friday, May 2, 2014 from 6-9 at 48th Street and Telegraph Avenue for the opening at Rise Above Gallery. If you're reading this from out-of-town I hope you'll continue to join me here in this digital space. Digital attendance is very much appreciated too! Though, I admit, it would be fun to gather you all in one room for a cocktail.