Folds and Stacked: An exercise in restraint

CSAW exhibition opening
January 13-February 1, 2007
Commerce Street Artists Warehouse
2315 Commerce Street, Houston, 77002

Tenant gallery:
Stacked and Folds: an exercise in restraint
with Kathryn Kelley

The constructs reference the body, the female form—the contrived fashion in which I attempt to coerce my own behavior to harness my nature and by shear will alter my being. I continue to create artificial constructs in this futile attempt to be other, to be self—I sacrifice the real, the intimate, and the honest, for the illusion of otherness. I am other. In this I lose my being, become embedded in the herd—to the cliff, to the cliff, I run. Within this tightly packed unit, I am one. I am none. Nostrils flare with the stench of sameness. I am the same. The spectacle becomes the spectator. The spectator becomes the speck. It drifts along the surface and is nothing. It repeats its self. I repeat myself.

Eventually I stop.

Collecting, harvesting, acquiring the decayed, the discarded, both industrial and natural, from the street side, I find myself viscerally reacting against the cult of the instant, the cult of new, the cult of forever young, forever fertile with pushed up breasts and swollen lips. Cognitively, emotionally, I am in full participation—loving the hunt, loving the gathering—mine, mine, mine. I am the lover of stuff. But as artist, what does it mean to not manipulate my materials making them mine? If the artist’s hand is only in the harvesting and storing, am I artist? So I collect the urban refuse and force myself to release the mine, mine, mine, mindset. I let the materials BE. And when I let them be, I find innate emergent impressions referencing the female form.

I am female. How do I release the frenetic agitated female images mediated by culture? What does it mean to be female? Is my power really only in the swell of my breast and the heat of my thighs? I am no longer sure of what it means to be female. What is femininity? I look to my aging female friends—Cynthia, Margo, Susan, and even Pam and Lori. In their decay, their pain and love, I learn what it is to be female. Their faces are etched with life lived. They have not run from the processes of living. They are not plastic. They attempt to live honestly and value others. They are female. They are human. They are beautiful.

It is in the depths when I wade out from the shallows that I find life and my being.

In the decayed, I find beauty, in the released, honesty.