I have been trying to figure out how I first got entangled with the great group of artists from SCIBASE. I think that Louise Atkinson may at the bottom of it all, I am fairly certain that she forwarded a call for work from the Basement Arts Project to me. I am quite certain that my proposal for that show wasn’t accepted, but I ended up on their email list and when the call for work for SUPERMARKET went out I was really anxious to be included. The rest as they say is history. They accepted my proposal and I was able to meet up with them in Stockholm.
This was really the beginning of the strange mental journey I have been on since. I realized while I was at SUPERMARKET that I was quite content with the nature of my practice. I had really struggled after being accepted with the distinct possibility that I was not hip enough for an independent event of this kind. (and really I wasn’t!) I have said many times on this blog that I am maker, my hands need to be busy, I like the sense of gratification and accomplishment I get from producing a finely crafted thing. I enjoy the slow rhythm and repetition of my time in the studio. I am that creature. So while being in Stockholm certainly generated plenty of social anxiety, I really am not good with new people, it also generated a sense of well being that was new. I felt that there were some people who did get was I was doing and that seemed to be enough. I am not cutting edge, but I am OK with being a quieter, middle-aged, suburban sort of message bringer.
Then after spending time with the amazing group of NYFA MARK artists I realized another subtle internal shift was happening. I was really beginning to believe that I WAS an artist. It is really hard to explain what changed, or how my thoughts changed, but something has shifted. I find myself able to relax into the work, to be freer and more playful. Setting goals has allowed me to let go of something tight that was really jamming me up and I can already see the results in the studio and in my professional life. I am still not good with people but I find myself trying to be more open and especially more receptive to help.
And so today I had my first studio visit with a curator. I was able to carry on a fairly intelligent conversation about my work, and to get some valuable feedback about new projects. Just a few months ago I would not have even dared to invite a curator in, I didn’t believe I had anything worth seeing or sharing with a professional like that. I was making judgments about my work I should have been letting others make for themselves. Today I can say I do feel like a REAL artist.
And so, back to Bruce and Wendy and all the others, the artists of SCIBASE who gave me an unexpected boost. People in the art world talk all the time about lack, about fear and competition. This year I have been shown that it can just as easily be about collaboration, shared opportunity and abundance. A group of artists who only knew me through email and proposals welcomed me in, they took my very un-hip, perhaps embarrassingly earnest self consciousness and gently nudged me to a better place.They shared an experience, a space, even dinner!
I am excited to be showing with them again this coming month. My work is already on its way to Liverpool for the Independents Biennial. I finally wised up and created a print project that could be printed in England – so no expensive shipping and the work is designed to be taken away, so no return shipping either! The work I am sending is quite different, it is not precious, it is not finely crafted. It is a response to the absolutely ridiculous provocation of the political conversation in America over the past few months. It reflects the show’s title “inhospitable”, and how inhospitable to women the dialogue has become. I will wait until the show opens to post images.
I want to thank all the other artists in the collaborative who are doing the donkey work of installation and invigilation so that my work will be seen. I really, really wish I was coming to Liverpool to see you all again. And I want to thank all of you, my blog friends for supporting me too.