This project is always in flux, changing as time passes, and my emotions evolve.
I send postcards, birthday invitations, holiday cards, and occasional letters to the most powerful people in the art world using ArtReview's Power 100, and articles referencing curators and collectors.
Occassionaly I meet or hear from people and begin to have exchanges, other times, I imagine personalities as I write to these people over the years. I add new people and people change positions (locations) and I have no address or some request I no longer write to them. HomoPygosOs and other pieces of my partners work, which were once included in all of the photographs used for postcards slowly faded, from sculpture, to photo and then to non inclusion.
My hope is to build lasting relationships.
Oh! The places we’ll go, started out with the intention of letting people who I would never know, and who would never know me, get to know me, and my life, to form relationships, and as a means of networking.
I did not realize that I would perceive or make up personalities for those to whom I am writing and about whose work I read. But, I have become emotionally bound to the phantoms, in some cases, and the people, in others.
I left home when I was very young (14). I hitchhiked around America, and then at 17 I went to Guatemala and Mexico, taking trains, hitch hiking. At 22, I went to Africa and traveled all over Southern, Central and East Africa. During all of this time, I stayed in touch with my family by writing postcards. My grandma loved them so much that she hung them all on the wall beside her bed, and as she moved from her own home into an apartment, and finally into a shared home as she aged, she always kept the cards beside her.
When I receive a card, or Ameliese does, I get a sense of joy…receiving a little present, knowing someone is thinking about me. And sharing with me. In that way, writing cards is and has been a part of my life.
Postcards and hand written correspondence have been a source of meaningful and intimate connection throughout my life. During my teens and early twenties, I hitchhiked through the US, Central America, southern, eastern, and central Africa, and postcards functioned as a conduit to stay in touch with my family, and those whom I met along the way. My grandma saved them, pinned them above her bedside, and shared in my adventures; my mom preserved them, and when she learned that she had Alzheimer’s, read them all, then returned them to me…my own history, at once banal and exotic, much forgotten, in a pile held together with a rubber band. They have cemented relationships with friends and deepened those with family. Over the years, postcards have been an intensely personal way for me to bond with people. They are the perfect catalyst for the series I started in 2011, Oh! The places we’ll Go!
In 2010, when Ameliese was born, the unexpected realities of motherhood became an urgent consideration. What would it mean to maintain and support an art practice while caring for an infant, being responsible for a child, guiding a young adult?
Through research I selected a group of people in the art world who embody the relations needed to enable artists to establish a successful practice. These card recipients consist of collectors, curators, writers, gallerists, artists, and critics, who are thought of as defining the current art world narrative. My attraction is more than what they represent in this particular niche culture, it is rather to build genuine relationships with them as people with a common passion and fascination. I want to create possibilities for conversations and occurances that would otherwise be unattainable.
I consider class structures and Bourdieu’s fields of capital, in which Bourdieu philosophized that the artist passes through fields that are impermeable to others, and I wonder whether this is an outdated view, and how to work within a contemporary framework.
My work addresses personal experiences and often exposes intimate details of my life, many of which I see as universal, at times cliché’. It is important to discover how to authentically express shifts in my existence and maintain my critical vision. Parenthood does not historically fulfill the requirement of an appealing aesthetic experience. Yet it is an experience shared by the majority of humans, both now and throughout time, and is considered by most to be profoundly meaningful, albeit of an intangible nature.
I am influenced by critical feminist art territory delineated by works such as Mierle Lederman Ukele’s performances, Mary Kelly’s post-partum document, and Sally Mann’s photography, in which women who were immersed in parenting, allowed it to drift into their work and become a part of their subject, using parenthood to enrich, rather than disregarding or avoiding it. Particularly for women, who are still fighting to break away from traditional roles and enter a realm that has been, and still is, largely populated by men, parenthood is taboo. I wonder about how to embrace the prosaic experience of parenthood in the aesthetic and critique of fine art, as a means of inquisitively viewing our roles, fields of capital and as a means of connecting personally with others.
I send this chosen group hand-written postcards with photographs of my daughter and letters narrating my daily activities, and make myself vulnerable to them. I chronicle Ameliese’s growth, our time and travels together, my mother’s ongoing battle with Alzheimer’s…the abject, day to day.
The cards, at times, function as a sort of personal confessional. It is an offer to exchange mundane and profound experiences and meet on a heartfelt level in order to establish friendship.
Occasionaly, these strangers have responded, and relationships are growing between us. There have been visits, email and text messages, we have received Christmas cards and birthday gifts.
In the end, the reward is to create a connection that breaches social, emotional, intellectual, class, and cultural strata: one that burgeons because I sought ways to bring it into existence.
This project is interactive, inviting, and open ended. I request all involved to join in its making. It is an ongoing, lifelong process, and a discovery of collaboration with others in success and experiences, including motherhood, and adventure, traveling a unique path with a sense of curiosity for the future, in the act of my art practice.