In Frequent Spaces
IN FREQUENT SPACES
In Frequent Spaces is about seeing a person you once knew as your caretaker become an adult, a peer, and then someone in need of care-giving themselves. For me this transition happened in my early twenties when I moved in with my grandparents for a summer. I had some candid talks with my grandmother specifically on age, partnership, and the choices we make in a lifetime.
I would always run into my grandparents house as a girl and smell fresh laundry and from-scratch southern cooking, so my starting point for this exhibit was actually scent. Over the course of a year, my grandmother sent me dryer lint. From that, I created a “fabric” with simply hand-tying, surrounding little pieces of lint in cheesecloth and securing them with thread. The patience, common materials and repetition parallel domestic support work of many women born in the depression era and raising families in the 1950’s. After hearing some hard truths about my grandfather as a partner, I used his long-retired fishing weights to anchor and sink the valleys.
The title refers to limited mobility, and can be taken both as it reads and as it sounds. The museum gallery is near identical to the size and proportions of their living room and the piece is a fairly accurate topographical map of their limited movement throughout the space. The entire structure undulates ever so slightly as air moves throughout the space, but never touches the floor. It ephemeral, precious, and an object of respect.
I chose to approach this as an abstract installation since that would require a more subjective interpretation from the viewer. It was truly incredible to see different generations interact with this space. Adults entered with great reproach, teenagers were apathetic, children ran under and around it gleefully as if the entire piece was just a massive fort.
In many ways, this structure is a reference to bodily fragility. The bits of lint themselves are a conglomeration of hair, skin cells, and the faded particles of my grandmothers clothing. They contain the physical remnants of a person. In this context the cheesecloth transforms into a swath of gauze, and my repetition of the tying becomes an obsessive attempt to heal. This is echoed in the gallery walls, covered in a thick plastic and slathered with Vaseline (a product my grandmother still swears is a cure-all even though scientific understanding has proven otherwise). The totality becomes a desperate attempt, but at the same time futile exercise, in repairing or restoring this lint, this dust.
What’s created is an environment that is also somewhat faded. It is soft, feminine, and translucent, with a warm familiar scent went you enter the gallery. Cool sunlight filters in from the interior glass wall of the gallery, catching the entire fabric and casting blue shades into the warm, ambient light of the installation. As the worlds moves outside, it shifts the light-scape of the whole atmosphere inside. The space remains constant, but not static.