Monday, June 27, 2011

Medusa Gaze

_We draw from deep personal experience in our art...or at least the best of our art. Getting to that point of experience is the most difficult part of an art career.  I've seen my share of art about art and art that needs a mass of explanation to appreciate. Translating an experience into resonance is something we strive for and it never gets easy; it seems to take hours, days even years in the studio to make the occasional breakthrough where an experience is broadly felt and hits that resonant tone with the viewer.  My fellow Seeking Kali collaborators, Susan Shulman, Ria Vanden Eynde and I have a piece like that now.  The Medusa Gaze is a simple piece but it draws on a shared experience.

Susan, Ria and I work from different countries as an artist collective; Susan is in Canada, Ria in Belgium and I'm in the US, yet we make it work via Skype, Facebook and email.  It's almost like we're in adjoining studios and over the last year we've collaborated in several ways: working on separate projects that are exhibited together and "group think" pieces.  The latter is different from the stereotypical artist alone in his or her studio trying to express that lifetime of experience.  More like "cloud" works or a musicians jam session.

The Medusa Gaze started in Facebook with Ria describing a particularly scary encounter of sexual harassment in a public space outside her library in Belgium. Susan adds her outrage and suggests we blog it and I post a pix of a large scale projection of Ria on a building with the words "I will not be intimidated."

Radio Interview from June 24th, 2011 on CJAD 800 (Canada) featuring Seeking Kali artist Susan Shulman discussing the launch of the Medusa Gaze during the Dr. Laure Betito program "Passions". Medusa Gaze is a collaborative art project by William Evertson, Susan Shulman and Ria Vanden Eynde.

We're doing both. Plus we're collecting stories and pictures of other women for inclusion in our guerrilla projections to end sexual harassment.  Our current artist call is calling for women to submit either a picture or short video segment of their best Medusa Gaze - the face and expression of disapproval. Submissions are included in our guerrilla projections.  Details on how you can participate are available on our tumblr project blog where we document our progress or on our Facebook Events Page.

Unlike silent bystanders or society (men and women) who excuse or overlook this bullying behavior in our public spaces, I refuse to be a token male and strongly feel the need to be involved. Every woman I know has a story similar to Ria's. The fact is our society too often turns a blind eye or worse blames the victim in a never ending feedback loop that ensures second class social status is simply unacceptable.

Susan, Ria and I are artists first rather than activists; as artists we have a vision and tools to make experience visible. Join us.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hyperallergic Mail Art Show

_Preparing the package_

One of my tic tac toe projects surfaced in Brooklyn yesterday at the opening of Presents: Mail Art Show sponsored by the blogazine Hyperallergic.   Who doesn't love getting mail art?  Editor Hrag Vartanian and co-curator Kate Wadkins liked it enough to begin a mail art feature that documented their packages over the course of the last three months. Friday night's exhibition featured 125 works ranging from postcards to art in plastic liter bottles, with over 100 artists represented.  I occasionally send out the little carved seal stamps I make as exchange with other artists for mail art received.  Back in April I carved a couple for the Hyperallergic folks; mostly just because I love their writing, coverage and insight into the art world.

_Crowded opening at the Brooklyn offices of Hyperallergic_

I had a chance to talk with editor/curator Hrag Vartanian about their ongoing feature and the development of mailart in general. Many credit artist Ray Johnson with bringing the practice into widespread recognition as an artform in it's own right, although as Hrag pointed out there have been great examples circulating as long as there has been mail.

_Couple playing with the tic tac toe stamps_

When I got to the opening I found that my piece was actually place on a small table with a couple of chairs available for people to sit and play with the work...just as intended.  In fact from an article Hyperallergic published they had taken the time to review my website and blog for more info about this ongoing project and learned that the actual game play is integral to the work and that I do performance based work with them.

_Shadow Theater still_

I could see from looking over the art at the opening that plenty of research went into the project. Many works included instructions for assembly, performance etc; one referenced a video of the packing of the box that contained the URLof the video.  I included not only the tic tac toe stamps but also references to other ongoing projects such as the Kali projects I collaborate on with Susan Shulman and Ria Vanden Eynde and an "analogue mountain climber" group blog. 

_Susan gets the Blues - from Analogue Narratives_

My last look at the art - (backwards..I knew that ;-)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shadow Theater at Mobius

As part of the Archetypology Exhibit, curated by Ivana Rezek, the Seeking Kali Shadow Theater will be staged during the opening this Friday. (June 10th. - performance time 8:30)

The Theater combines puppets, hand drawn sets, cut outs and live performers in a 15 minute performance loosely based on traditional Nang puppetry and morality fables.  In this version as the goddess blithely goes about her business of creating a perfect world she finds various demons and forces bedeviling her efforts.  The theater design and characters are by William Evertson with an original musical score by composer Larry Cohen of Canada.

Throughout the opening the submissions from the 2010 Seeking Kali artist call will be shown.  Over 80 international artists are represented in the eight and a half minute looped video.  The call contains a variety of works submitted on the subject of the Hindu goddess Kali.  The call was curated by Susan Shulman, Ria Vanden Eynde and William Evertson during the fall of 2010.

The video and poetry submissions will also be screened throughout the opening.

Mobius is located in Boston at 725 Harrison Avenue. Reception from 7-9 with artist talks and light refreshment.

The Seeking Kali DVD containing this archived material is available via Paypal from our website.