I wanted to share images from my current exhibition that opened on Friday night. What a wonderful evening! I couldn't be happier with the amazing and inspiring community that came together to see this show. (Thank you to everyone who attended and also to those of you who have been full of encouragement and good cheers from afar--thank you, thank you, thank you.)
I took these photographs in the gallery just a few hours before the opening--I wanted to create a virtual tour so I tried to get all the details, but sadly the live performers are not in these photos. So just imagine there are two dancers wearing vintage dresses and animal masks as they move throughout the exhibition. They read poems, they made garlands, they climbed on the furniture, and they performed very minimal human/ animal gestures from inside the space. From inside the gallery they were likely the first thing you'd notice.
From outside the gallery, you might first notice the front windows were filled with dried flower garlands that hung vertically on twine. If you passed by after dark you could see the video screen lit up across the room. But when you first entered the front door you were met by the kitchen table, or reading station, with the wall of mixed media work on blue vintage wallpaper in the background.
Behind the table was the wall of mixed media work on paper. This work was at the center of the exhibition--created by using vintage photographs and found animal images from children's textbooks to make new hybrid photos. Then the new hybrid images were further altered with embroidery and fabric applique. There were 10 original works on paper featuring various woodland animals including bears, coyotes, foxes, rabbits, deer, woodpeckers, northern flickers, owls, skunks, and chipmunks.
Next to the mixed media work was an original dollhouse made from cardboard, glue, tape, and various decorative papers. One of the soft sculptures was tucked into the back of the dollhouse and there was a dried flower garland hung across the front. I often say in my next life I'll be a florist, or a toy maker, or a marine biologist. Now I might add "dollhouse maker" to my list.
The soft sculptures also appeared on a long, thin reclaimed redwood shelf underneath the framed artwork and a shorter shelf on the information wall. The soft sculptures were a two-color design printed by the owner of the gallery as the space doubles as an active print shop. The soft sculptures were made in a very limited edition of 20. The backsides stated the name of that mixed media piece--all work was titled from various lines of poetry in the manuscript--this one read, The street light a full forest moon.
On the opposite side of the gallery was an interactive photo booth with two yellow armchairs and blue vintage wallpaper aside eight handmade masks. The audience was encouraged to wear the masks, sit in the chairs, and take self-portraits with their cellphones. Next to the photo booth was a video of the performers wearing 1950s house dresses and holding the masks in a silent 5-minute film. We filmed the video from one of the piers at Fort Mason--which just happens to be where my husband and I were married five years ago.
Above the kitchen table was a ring of dried Sweet William flowers in a chandelier configuration--simply tied to twine and nailed to the ceiling in a shape that mimicked the shape of the table. Dried flowers were also resting atop the informational plaques, across the dollhouse, and in the gallery windows. I liked working with the natural objects so much that I'm considering a show of just found natural objects sometime in the future. (Of course, way way in the future when I can see straight again.)
The exhibition is up through Saturday, May 31 with a closing stitch circle that afternoon from 2-4pm. I'm inviting folks to drop by that day to see the work, say hello, or join me with any lap-sized fiber project such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, mending, or any other textile work that can be held on your lap while you stitch. Throughout the month the gallery is open Wednesdays from 1-3, Saturdays from 11-5, or anytime by appointment should you be in Oakland and want to see the exhibition in person.
If I could do it all over again I'd make the opening night last longer, move slower, and I'd film the performers in the space so I could share their performance with those of you who couldn't attend. I'd drink one more glass of wine, I'd have a guest list so I could thank everybody who attended, and I'd change from my heels into my boots before 10pm! But really, I am so satisfied with the collaborators, the gallery, the community present at the opening, and the overall opportunity to share this work with the world.
I feel so very grateful. Thank you!