"What guides poetic thinking is the conviction that although the living is subject to the ruin of time, the process of decay is at the same time a process of crystallization, that in the depth of the sea, into which sinks and is dissolved what once was alive, some things "suffer a sea-change" and survive in new crystallized forms and shapes that remain immune to the elements, as though they waited only for the pearl diver who one day will come down to them and bring them up into the world of the living..."
I see on her website that she was an active element in the sculpture on the opening day. Does this mean that the figure in the sculpture is the artist? I assumed that it was a mannequin, but now I'm not sure and I can't find any info about this online... Does anyone know?
Also, I just realized that I liked her show at the Haines Gallery in 2004 and took these photos!
Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird's heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird's heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird's heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladores, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.
Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be. Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day, in the Americas: bearded helmetcrests and booted racket-tails, violet-tailed sylphs and violet-capped woodnymphs, crimson topazes and purple-crowned fairies, red-tailed comets and amethyst woodstars, rainbow-bearded thornbills and glittering-bellied emeralds, velvet-purple coronets and golden-bellied star-frontlets, fiery-tailed awlbills and Andean hillstars, spatuletails and pufflegs, each the most amazing thing you have never seen, each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant's fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.
Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles -- anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures more than any other living creature. It's expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise, and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.
The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. It's as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around in it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long. When this creature is born it is twenty feet long and weighs four tons. It is waaaaay bigger than your car. It drinks a hundred gallons of milk from its mama every day and gains two hundred pounds a day and when it is seven or eight years old it endures an unimaginable puberty and then it essentially disappears from human ken, for next to nothing is known of the mating habits, travel patterns, diet, social life, language, social structure, diseases, spirituality, wars, stories, despairs, and arts of the blue whale. There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest mammal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know this: the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles.
Mammals and birds have hearts with four chambers. Reptiles and turtles have hearts with three chambers. Fish have hearts with two chambers. Insects and mollusks have hearts with one chamber. Worms have hearts with one chamber, although they may have as many as eleven single-chambered hearts. Unicellular bacteria have no hearts at all; but even they have fluid eternally in motion, washing from one side of the cell to the other, swirling and whirling. No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside.
So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one, in the end -- not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman's second glance, a child's apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother's papery ancient hand in a thicket of your hair, the memory of your father's voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.
"A shell is a little thing, but I can make it look bigger by replacing it where I found it, on the vast expanse of sand. For if I take a handful of sand and observe what little remains in my hand afer most of it has run out between my fingers, if I observe a few grains, then each grain individually, at the moment none of the grains seems small to me any longer, and soon the shell itself–this oyster shell or limpet or razor clam–will appear to be an enormous monument, both colossal and intricate like the temples of Angkor, or the church of Saint-Maclou, or the Pyramids, and with a meaning far stranger than these unquestioned works of man."
I just started working as a studio assistant for one of my favorite artists. It's amazing being in his studio- there's so much going on. Sculptures and collages and paintings and just STUFF everywhere! It's inspiring and, of course, it makes me a little jealous. I hope that I can someday work at that scale.
One of the reactions that I often get to my work is "What if this were the size of a room?" or "What if you made a hundred of these?" That can be really frustrating to hear, even if it's sometimes true.
A lot of artists that I love work on a huge scale using many small pieces... Sarah Sze and Tara Donovan were huge influences when I first saw their work (at the MCA in 1999 and at the Berkeley Art Museum in 2007, respectively).
And a few more...
"the shell shop" in morro bay
Making so much stuff (without studio assistants) can be incredibly tedious- I really dislike it. The most labor intensive/boring piece that I've made was "Snakelace". I cut SO many snakes out of white felt and covered all of the walls of a small room, with a hanging piece in the middle.
Luckily, I could work on the project almost anywhere... :)
I just started a ceramics class at Xiem Clay Center in Pasadena and I've been thinking about ways to integrate the objects that I make with papier-maché. I love the way that Jessica Jackson Hutchins does this in her work.
Here's a quote from the artist:
"I use common and simple objects because they can act as nouns. Strung together, they resonate like catchy song lyrics: chair, bowl, pants. They are also weird together, and loving, too. Sometimes the materials look old or crappy and that gives the sculptures a sense of urgency. They have a “by any means necessary” or punk sensibility. I don’t think the sculptures would be very interesting if they didn’t also possess disruptive qualities, if they weren’t tough and insistent. I’m not attached to dilapidation for its own sake. It’s just the way things look when they are really part of the world. They’re not slick and pristine."
Because my current body of work is about bedrooms and sleep, I decided that it made sense for me to start recording my dreams every morning. While most of them have been disappointingly mundane, I'm surprised by how many animals are in them (though, coming from a family of naturalists, this probably makes sense). In the past 2 weeks I have dreamed about a butterfly, a pair of eagle eggs, a hummingbird, and many, many ants.
Will I have to make some sculptures of animals to include with the bedroom objects? I'm not sure yet, could be cheesy... but it's got me thinking about art that includes animals or animal-like creatures...