As you know, I'm a member of the Shenandoah Valley Art Center [SVAC]. Last month they had a show in which a small unpainted wooden room was constructed as part of the installation. It is about 8' high and 6' wide and 7' long and was going to be dismantled after the show. I was having a conversation with Piper Groves, our delightful director, about my miniature altered house and my long-time fantasy about doing a real altered house. Somehow at about the same time, we both thought of the room in the gallery. The annual juried gallery Member Show was coming up in June, so it was perfect timing for us to do a collaborative piece.
Piper has an affection for Mexican art, collects Day of the Dead skulls and was recently looking at images of Mexican altars. I myself have a big collection of Mexican ceramics and tin and did a lot of work with Mexican Madonna images and Frida Kahlo. So we quickly got to the idea of doing an altar room. I also happen to have a large Frida Kahlo poster that I bought in Mexico City. We decided to use that as the anchor of the main altar and from that quickly emerged the idea of, naturally, doing an altar to women artists. We were off and running.
I sent Piper pix of the many Mexican things I had on hand. Next time I saw her she had also made wonderful wood pieces of four of her favorite artists - Judy Chicago, Yoko Ono, The Guerrilla Girls and Yaoi Kusama. Inspired, I created pieces for four of my favorite artists - Geogia O'Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, Sonia Delunay and Jenny Holzer.
We took one afternoon to paint the room and then began the installation the next day. Piper had a wonderful collection of lace pieces from her mother, which we used to drape from the open top of the room. She also made a really neat garland of paper Day of the Dead skulls, which was nicely hung throughout.
My dear friend Helen and I collected many items in Oaxaca, Mexico and Mexico City, including our 'Herd of Madonnas.' She also had given me heaps of fabric flowers. Piper and I added mirrors and Mexican Tin pieces throughout; battery candles, a nice crow and whatever took our fancy. Piper altered a painting on wood she had in her studio with Mexican Tin and a friend of hers, added a vagina pottery piece. Yay, Judy Chicago.
It was a wonderful couple hours of assembling. And how nicely, at the opening people seemed to appreciate it very much. All that and we got an Honorable Mention too.
Should you be in the Waynesboro, VA area, the show will be up through the end of July. Stop on by! SVAC
|Piper's Artist Plaques
|At the Opening - Mimi peeks out
My artist pieces
|Louise Nevelson assemblage - my favorite! 18"x5.5
|Sonia Delunay plaque 9" diameter
|George O'Keeffe 8x8 wooden plaque
|Jenny Holzer plaque
The Madonna and Frida pieces
|Forgiving Rose 15"x6"
|Mexican Integration 12"x10" box
|Madonna Kali 18"x10"