Moderna Blondin

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Photo by Liz Layton

Two weeks later, I am ready to sit down and share a bit about me and Liz Layton‘s exhibition Moderna Blondin, especially the reception, during which time the performance took place.

I did not expect that peculiar, miraculous thing that happens sometimes with painting, drawing or sculpture, where you surprise yourself and “what this is about” expands exponentially right before your eyes. This may be because I have no experience with theatre, and on account of there being lines and such, assume that there is little room for surprise. We had a loose script, we rehearsed, and everyone involved was capable and committed.

Perhaps I am giving too much away here, but I believe that what made the performance was actually what I didn’t plan and couldn’t expect. I did not, for example, plan for a drum circle to be in the gallery prior to the performance, right next to the installation. I did not expect people to not realize I was a real person underneath the dark purple fabric. And I definitely didn’t plan to mimic my episodes, periods of time when I am disoriented, dizzy, etc.

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That’s what makes it exciting for me, all the things I did not expect. I am grateful for the interaction that I had with the audience, even in moments of discomfort. When people debated what my gender was under the fabric, when someone dared another to “punch it in the face”, when a child asked someone, “Do you want to see the person?”, or when people became alarmed at realizing I was sitting there, able to hear their conversations — all of it was really fascinating.  Even the drum circle, which I was admittedly not thrilled about, played an important role.

And thankfully, I’m not the only one who felt that fascination and impact. Really. Thank you.

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Photo by Mira Gerard

Speaking of, I’d like to thank our performers — Katharine Hache, Jennifer Culp, and Myranda Kreyenbuhl-Porterfield. Each one performed perfectly, despite not being paid (though a “thank you” brunch is in order), and they really brought themselves to their roles whole-heartedly. I appreciate that a great deal.

I’d also like to thank Liz for working with me because without her work and her presence, I’m not sure I would have thought of doing this on my own. She an illuminator, both literally and figuratively.

More pictures are available at my Flickr account, as usual. Also, Liz has prints from the show’s work in her Etsy shop. (Kate Bush!) I’m planning to put together a zine with images of the work in the show, artist statements, short essay(s), and hopefully an interview. So, that’s on the way.

The exhibition — including our paintings and the installation — will be up in Nelson Fine Art Center until the end of March.

Reception for Inheritance

I’m not sure how one gauges the success of a reception. Is it how many people show up? How many people compliment you? How much art is purchased? How many people suggest another exhibition or commission that probably won’t come to fruition? I don’t know.

A lot of people showed up, a lot of people responded positively to the work, a lot of people loved the food, and one person bought a print. Good, I think. I worked a bit harder to promote the show and to allow other people to promote it for me. A couple people mentioned reading about it in the paper to Robert.

Thanks to my grandparents, mom, mother-in-law, and some friends the food for the reception was everything I hoped it would be — good, seasonal, and substantial vegan food for people who aren’t used to eating vegan food. I’m glad I decided to shoot for having too much food because people ate pretty much all of it. There was very little left for us to take home by the end of the night. We had:

Southern Event Regulation sweet tea
Art Show Regulation boxed wine (probably not vegan)
Husband Regulation Yuengling lager beer
Fruit jam, olive & dill, garlic, and spicy nut spreads
Chipotle, black bean, and garlic hummus
Crackers and fresh bread
Fresh fruit
BBQ pomegranate tempeh
Citrus glazed beets & sweet potato
Asparagus & heirloom tomato garlic salad
Cranberry, apple & squash quinoa
Hot black-eyed peas & kale
Sesame chard salad
Spiced pumpkin cupcakes
Maple cookies (Earth Fare)
No-bake chocolate cookies
Peanut butter rice krispy treats

It was all delicious. And I might have forgotten something or things. We managed to find some compostable plates and silverware, plus recyclable plastic cups so there ended up being one trash bag, one recycling bag, and two compost bags. I’m pretty pleased with hosting an event that was at least semi-responsible.

Instead of a guestbook, I decided to paint a rectangle on the wall and let people fill it with their comments. More like an open forum or a discussion board than a guestbook. People were a bit shy about it, but with some encouragement by the end of the night there were several comments, some of which were especially thought-provoking or validating. (And who doesn’t love feeling validated?) It seems like most people came to me directly to tell me what they think.

We ended up staying in the gallery until 11:30 because people kept coming in, and I was as proud of myself for talking to so many strangers as I was for putting together the whole damn show. Especially on three hours of sleep. More images from the reception are available at my Flickr account. I’ll take some good photos of the work itself soon. Until then, here are a few more images from the reception: