January 9 - March 5 2016
photos by Zach Storm
The work in this show has developed over the past two years from Year of Flowers, a series of anonymous collaborative exhibitions staged between Baltimore and New York in which a fountain often functioned as the centerpiece of a one-night viewing. We liked the idea of people coming out and enjoying an object surrounded by a certain mystery, without knowing what it was or who made it. Anonymity allowed the work to become more incidental, more utilitarian, and less precious. In being more mysterious, it seemed to become more alive.
Kind of like plants or pets, these fountains feed off of the energy of the caregiver who tends them. Their water levels need to be checked; lights need to be turned on and off; incense should be refilled. Water is an incidentally poetic medium, but I’m more interested in how water enlivens a work’s emotional consciousness and how that aliveness may be accessed by the viewer.
I often compose environments as a way of housing and providing context for performance. Such spaces offer a gathering spot which possesses a certain dormant energy waiting to be activated. These fountains could be used for a specific ritual or just for aimless sitting. I frequently stage environments to provide a setting for an emotionally significant or physically taxing performance which can take place incidentally and without requiring the presence of an audience. Fountains are pleasers; a simple method for engaging a viewer’s sensory response, but also a kind of ghostly autonomous object that performs by itself whether or not it is being watched.
These fountains often feature the labor, help and ideas of artists in my immediate circle, and the writings and videos that surround them document the ongoing narrative of those precious to me, what we think about and what we feel for each other. We started with a certain idea like, wouldn’t this be beautiful? Or, what if we could make this? And then we just tried it, and when it was finished it didn’t matter if anyone came to see it or if anybody showed up at all, it was enough that we could just pull it off. These works mythologize a personal locus of time; a secret moment. My video camera catches glimpses of self-consideration; private, fervent disclosures often happening late at night. These confessions foster an oasis outside of normal time where I can sit by the pool of my myths and my memory, amidst the layers of the long story.
EKW, January 2016