Last year I was given a solo exhibition at a new gallery in Portland. I was SO excited to show in my own hometown and since I was given the liberty to do whatever I wanted with the space, my imagination ran a little wild with it.
I first considered creating a murmuration out of paper birds, of creating this piece in my garage and making a set of tintypes with it...then re-creating it in the gallery as a huge, ceiling installation. Prints from my tintypes would adorn the walls.
*side note - this is a murmuration for those who don't know:
Then that idea ebbed, and I found myself wanting to channel Leonardo Drew...to create a large scale, modular photographic installation. I had actually began making objects for this, but I simply lost interest in it.
Then, one night I was listening to an episode (#36) of Lore Podcast called, "When the Bow Breaks" and became entranced with in the notion of Ghost Ships. Ghost ships are real...they are vacant vessels that just float around out there on the open seas. The crew is either missing or dead. Ghost ships are floating equivalents to abandoned houses, but more mysterious, I think, for their rarity and for their peculiarity...I mean, there's no reason for a ship to be sailing without a crew, whereas houses stay right where they are long after the inhabitants have all left.
One of the things that appealed to me about the idea of ghost ships is how it might work as a metaphor for human beings as we are all just passing through, really...slipping silently through the waters of life -waving to each other as we glide by. The human body is also a vessel of sorts...and though we may not be empty, we are certainly haunted -both culturally and individually by our histories.
For my show in Portland, I had decided to present a show of photographic images & objects that work within the theme of "Ghost Ships." Each piece was to be presented in an antique/vintage frame -the kind that has convex glass in it. The convexity of the glass leaves room to add items to the work...so in Untethered Pearls, for example - I was able to put a few alphabetical symbols in there that appear to be floating. I also liked the way the frames echo port holes in a ship.
By the time my show was cancelled (yes, I really did just say that --it was cancelled) I had already spent just under $1500 on the frames. Unfortunately, the gallery folded. And here I sit with 19 antique frames and 5 finished pieces.
I decided to celebrate the fact that I now have these gorgeous frames that I would never have purchased without believing there was a destination for them. And I'm going to create this body work anyway. I have time now to think about how I would really like each piece to be. There's no rush, and I love the objects I've already created.
Anyhow, that's it for today...maybe tomorrow I'll post pix from the Ghost Ships series.