Thursday, March 27, 2014

Story at 11

Thrilled to get some good local press for A Fierce Heart is a Tender Heart!  Getting on the front page of the paper apparently generated some interest from other media outlets.  I hope it means people in the community will stop by!

KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Also, it is kind of hilarious to hear some of my ideas spoken in newscaster-ese.  She missed some of the  more subtle aspect of the work, but I am glad to see the art students getting their day in the sun!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Fierce Heart is a Tender Heart: Robyn Love's Fun House of Vulnerability

Entrance to the gallery space - two curtains with a video projection.
Back story:  this took about four tries to record in a somewhat decent manner.  It was very tricky to get the lighting correct so that you can see into the hole and it wanted to shift around during the unraveling so that it would unravel and reveal...the bridge of Lucy's nose.  Also, cranky teenage helper's litany of criticisms throughout was not so helpful.

Lucy's eye, ten feet wide!
Do you feel vulnerable yet?

I didn't get any photos of the security guards but they would pop into the room I was in now and then to tell what fun they were having, hugging people.

The first room is SpinCycle, recreated here from its debut at The Brooklyn Museum almost a year ago.

A bike was donated for the project and we made it work here, which still seems miraculous to me.  I was performing (that is to say, spinning) during the opening last night.  

It's all about the mirror...and the story prompts.
Am I allowed to say how much I love this project?  It blew me away when I first did it - how much people shared and how intimate the space in the mirror became (we can see each other's face, but not our own).  It was no different here.  People started telling their stories (they pick a story prompt card if they can't think of one on the spot) and they just open up.  Often it is the person I least expect who starts telling me things that are so poignant and beautiful....yes, I love this project.

The next room is called Draw the Line.

Everyone, artist or not, is invited to draw a line, any line.  They can bring it home or pin it up on the wall.

Leading on...around a corner...

The Utopia Tent, which you may remember from last summer in Saskatoon.  Re-created here, indoors. Remarkably, it maintained its magical quality that caused people to just want to sit and hang out and chat.

Still had to wash your feet, however!  Apparently, many people were very shy about the state of their winter feet so there was some embarrassment about it.  I had not thought of that!

 And then...

 The Hall of Mirrors.  Yup, over 1500 mirrors and could have used more.  It is still a pretty amazing space in there.

 And I was extra pleased to see that the project made it onto the front page (!) of the local newspaper.   It actually drew some people to the opening, so that was extra great.  One person even said, "I have to start coming to art galleries more often..this was fun!"  I didn't want to tell them that most art galleries are probably not quite as fun as this one in its current incarnation, but who knows, maybe they will become diehard art lovers.

Are those irony quotes?
The installation will be up officially until May 16th but rumour has it that they will keep it up through the summer.  So...should you be in South Dakota...please drop by.  Lincoln Gallery, Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Artist, Heal Thyself

All the walls are up!  With the assistance of many of the art students and two of the art faculty (and their two exceptionally cute children), the structure is all there.  Actually "assistance" is not quite correct.  Frankly, they did all the hard work of it.  I supervised and tended to other tasks while they balanced on ladders and suspended many hundreds of pounds of knit and crochet in the air.

Installing The Hall of Mirrors.

It's the giant fort you always wanted to build.

A couple of times this past week I have almost started crying because I just can't believe how generous and hardworking everyone is as they help bring this abstract idea into reality.

Apparently the vulnerability in this Fun House of Vulnerability is all mine to experience.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Oh interdependence, how I love you!

Now, stop standing there taking pictures and lend a hand...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

So Much Stuff

By freak accident, the gallery is located in the business school at Northern State University.  This means that business students and faculty wander by all day, glancing in and sometimes coming and asking questions.  The professor who has his office across the hall apparently enjoys his role as art critic-in-residence.  He told the curator that "there is some woman in the gallery throwing afghans around."  Buddy, you don't know the half of it!

Yesterday, he told me that, if it didn't piss him off then it wasn't art.  At first I tried to assure him that my work isn't about pissing people off but then I thought about how he will be watching a video clip of crochet unraveling to reveal Lucy's eye for three months.  He might be a little pissed come May 16th.

So it goes.

Today I will work with art students all day and I am hoping that we start hanging the walls by the end of the day.

These are three of the rooms.  They are all constructed and waiting to be hung up.

The floor of the gallery is covered with pieces.  I think I have enough at this point but I won't know until we get it all up.  I am extremely grateful to the art students who have been helping me - some coming on their off hours to crochet, which allows me to do other things.

One young woman came in and just said, "Wow! So much stuff!"  And, oh my, she is right.  Stuff is everywhere.  I even have my trusty Bernina.  I love you, baby!

Yesterday, I took a break from sewing miles of white seams to make the first of two "security guard" costumes.  They are padded so they can offer warm (and very non-sexual) embraces to people to help them feel secure in the fun house.  I am hoping to recruit two extroverted students to wear them for the opening.

The fourth room is The Hall of Mirrors.  I glued over 1500 mirrors on the walls yesterday.  Remarkably I could have used more.  Still, it will be pretty cool when it is up.  Now I am just anxiously awaiting the moment of truth when everything is lifted off the ground - feels like the rest of it is just details.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Clean, Mean and Aberdeen

The road to Toledo was clear the day after the big storm.  It was littered with the wrecks of 18-wheelers that did not heed the sage advice of Ohio's DoT, however.  As disturbing as it was to witness so many huge vehicles skidded and toppled over into the roadside ditches, it made me feel better (and less wimpy) about delaying my trip for a day.  

Toledo is behind me now.  As is my lovely visit with the blogless Janine (just outside of Madison, WI). I managed to arrive just in time to attend the annual Madison Knitters Guild Knit-in, which is kind of like a mini-Rhinebeck.  Fortunately, my car was already packed with my exhibition materials so I had no room to spare for yarn or fleece.  BTW, Janine is not entirely blogless anymore - she now writes a column for the MKG that you can read online for free.  It seems that, even among hardcore Wisconsin knitters/farmers, Janine's activities stand out.  (Sorry, tried to make a link but I am having trouble...look around, it is called "Janine and Ewe".)

Wisconsin also behind me, I barreled ahead to Aberdeen, South Dakota, home to the Northern State University Wolves.  Go Wolves!

I am being put up in the University guest house - and here it is:

I have the whole house to myself!  And a driveway!  It is so cute and so very brown.

But let's cut to the chase.  I am here to work and I have a ton of work to do.  Here is the gallery as I found it yesterday:

Things are always different in person than in photographs and this was true yesterday.  I was wishing that I could have visited the campus and gallery prior to deciding on my project because the space has a very interesting history (it was used as a meet-up place for young women and their dates when the building was an all-women's residence hall).  It has a fireplace and these funky columns that have mirrors on them.  For my purposes, all of these interesting details will be totally erased.  Yet, as Greg, the curator and one of the art professors here said, it will again be used as a social space, so I feel a little better about that.

All my boxes arrived and I unloaded my car and began the work of laying out the space, praying that I had enough materials to create what I want to create.  The other thing about working site-unseen is that it is very hard to really know what the real world, physical realities of the space will be, so all plans have to be ready to change at a moment's notice.

I wasn't too far off, fortunately.  I do not have quite enough materials but I think I will be able to gather more via local thrift shops and from donations among students and faculty.  Fingers crossed!  

Today, I will work with students to finish the corridor of the fun house and begin sewing the fabric for each of the four rooms.  This is the most complicated part so getting it finished will be A Big Deal.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Holy Toledo

My trip westward is delayed one day while Toledo, OH, endures another winter storm.  The weather website said that, at present, Toledo is experiencing "heavy snow and freezing fog".  Not exactly sure what freezing fog is but I am glad I am not driving in it.

I am grateful for this delay (fortunately I worked in extra days in my trip just for this reason) because it means I have one more day to get organized and packed.

Never has devil's dandruff been so welcome!

What the heck am I talking about?  Please, go here right now.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Upon These Laurels Thou Shalt Not Rest

First, a few pictures from the opening reception of Say Something at bkbx last Friday evening:

Hides Nothing, 2013. Ceramic 12" x 12"

A selection of bowls and little assemblages.

Trippy fabric and three drawings.  No, I didn't make the fabric myself.  It was totally good luck that I pulled that roll out of a huge pile of prints at Mood.

The much talked-about motorized crochet.  To say that it did not quite reach its potential hardly describes its state of claptrap-ness.  Let us call it a "work in progress" and move on.  (Pictures with the kind hearted Ryan, who offered to bike to Brooklyn on his day off to help me figure out the technical challenges after my first motor broke.  I didn't take him up on it, btw.)

Do Nothing, 2013.  Crocheted yarn, 98" x 72"

Not Stained Not Pure, 2008.  Crocheted yarn, 80" x 96".  Also, Lucy.
The exhibition has been well-received so far.  It will be up for the rest of the month, so stop in if you can.  I haven't posted photos of everything - there are still some surprises!

All photos by Rami Efal.

After the MoMa workshop and getting this show up, my inclination is to put my feet up and take a little break.  Alas, this is not what is happening.  Indeed, the largest and most challenging project remains to be created.  I may have shed a few tears this morning during yoga's feeling a little overwhelming to be honest.  But I know the solution isn't to make my mat slippery with salty tears but to get back into it and make what needs to be made.  Plus, rumour has it that I will have student help once I get to South Dakota...

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Say Something at bkbx, March 7 - 31, 2014

Get thee to bkbx!

It is in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn.  You can smell the canal from here!

Down a very photogenic alleyway...

...through Proteus Gowanus... bkbx.

Here is a description of what you might find there:

Say Something presents textile works, ceramics and drawings in which text is a primary feature. 
The series of crocheted works began as a play on the idea of an antimacassar (a crocheted lace piece that was placed on the back of a chair or sofa to protect it from a kind of men’s hair cream called macassar popular in the 19th Century). Making them alternately too large or too small to be useful on furniture, the pieces used the decorative crochet lace patterning as a structure for pithy messages, like “Do nothing”.  Sometimes drawing from Vedic or Buddhist sources, the messages are not exactly questions or imperatives but they are definitely demanding something.  Over the past several years, the text-based pieces have expanded from crochet to include other materials such as porcelain and stoneware and found their way into drawings. 
The work is playful and colorful, offering us a sly wink lest we are tempted to get too taken up with what is written.
I hope you will stop by if you can!