from the Spring 2015 exhibit at Arlington Arts Center
Wrapped & Wrought
Curated by Ellen Chenoweth
Know the river has its destination.
The Elders say we must let go of the shore, and
Push off and into the river, keep our eyes open, and
our head above the water.
See who is in there with you and Celebrate.
—Alice Walker (from We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For)
Each work in Wrapped & Wrought suggests a journey. The artworks are rooted in a particular landscape, or set of landscapes, inviting an imagined mobility on the part of the viewer.
You may be traipsing through abandoned refuse sites in Fairfax, Virginia with Olivier Giron, carefully collecting samples of trash that will then be cultivated into suspended glass terrariums in Something out of Nothing.
You might be hearing Annie Wilson recount an episode from the streets of her Philadelphia neighborhood following an Eagles football game, as told to us in her performance work At Home With the Humorless Bastard.
While viewing Goat, Lamb, Serpent and Beast, you might picture yourself side by side with Roberto Lugo in Hungary, learning ceramic techniques used to fashion royal china, or immersed in North American graffiti culture.
You might imagine slipping into Nicole Salimbene’s canoe in Knowing Your Water, surrounded by photographic negatives of friends and family, held aloft on a river of familiar waters.
Or you may be ready to take a trip with Jacob Rivkin and his traveling suitcase, The Cheese Is Made of Moon, filled with a mix of rarefied ground-up moon meteor and mundane yet comforting milk.
Any good journey changes the traveler and provokes self-reflection. Some questions that might arise through this particular set of journeys could include: what are your sustaining waters? What are the landscapes that have shaped you, and how is this reflected? Where are the patches of land that might need reclaiming, nurturing or transforming?
The body of the artist is alluded to in each of the works in Wrapped & Wrought. This may be felt most acutely and obviously in Annie Wilson’s work, in which the choreographer and performer was physically present during the exhibition opening, and has left behind in the space a video recording of the performance (an eternally, hopelessly pale imitation), along with the remnants of the set and costuming materials. And even though unseen, the fragile package of the body exists for the visual artists as well, rendering their environments and materials into these remarkable objects, imbued with human histories and desires.
Wishing you a safe journey as you keep our eyes open and push off from the shore….