Month: March 2020

ThreeGemsbyJamesTurrell

a grounding ritual

ThreeGemsbyJamesTurrell
three gems by james turrell at de young museum in san francisco

i was having difficulty sleeping. i was researching things at night that i shouldn’t, and the result was that i was still up at 1 (which is very late and very unusual for me) and unable to settle my mind. i think this is a common problem now. on the third evening after two bad nights, i was nibbling on a piece of chocolate and casually picked up the january edition of ‘poetry’. the shift i felt in perspective was immediate. the poems realigned time in the way a chiropractor realigns spines. reading poetry aloud is my most grounding ritual. give it a try! here’s my recommendation for today, on the occasion of the new moon in aries:

Sometimes the Moon Sat in the Well at Night 
by Marie Howe (from The Kingdom of Ordinary Time)

Sometimes the moon sat in the well at night.
And when I stirred it with a stick it broke.
If I kept stirring it swirled like white
water, as if water were light, and the stick
a wand that made the light follow, then slow
into water again, un-wobbling, until the wind moved it.

And I thought of all the moons

floating in the wells and rivers, spilling
over rocks where the water broke: moons
in the sheep water, the chicken water,
Or here or there an oar bent it, or a woman
spread out her skirt and let it pool there —
the light I mean, not the moon in a circle, not
the moon itself, but the light that fell from it.

un/necessary objects

Today is the opening of my show, Un/necessary Objects. It’s an exhibition about memory, objects, the connection between those two, and loss/value/impermanence.

When Pat Greene asked me to be the artist for March 2020, I immediately said yes. I had never been to the space before, but I am grateful for all opportunities that come my way. After visiting the space, I wasn’t sure what I would do. Credo Conduit is a co-working space, and the shows are installed in the lobby/entrance. Because it is a quasi-commercial space, I didn’t feel comfortable just displaying my work. That seemed too prescribed, especially because the display shelves are built-in (plus, most of my work is 3D and wouldn’t fit comfortably on the narrow shelves).

I hope it doesn’t seem like I am complaining, because my best work results from limitations and I like the challenge of figuring out how to work in different spaces. It took me two weeks to decide what I wanted to do. I had a lot of ideas (as did my partner Jonas) and a lot of doubts about those ideas… until the right idea came along. Or rather, it resurfaced. I had taken a series of photos about a year ago of my favorite objects, with the idea of writing about each one. It was an interplay between object and memory, and the impermanence of both. But then I dropped the project because a purely digital project is not satisfying to me and I had no other outlet at the time.

I’ve put a lot of work into this show in the last month and a bit. I edited photos, took some new photos, had them all printed, wrote about each object, edited (both the text and what I chose to include in the show), designed, edited some more, printed, trimmed, assembled, and installed. I ended up including 38 objects, some of which are my small artworks and most of which are things I collected or was gifted over the years. I hope that when people view the work, they will think about their own objects, memory, the value and worth of things, and impermanence (due to environmental threats and human frailty). I hope the personal becomes universal.

If you are unable to see it in person, I have created a digital version of the exhibition booklet (which is part of the exhibition, not a supplement). You can view it below or click here to download the pdf.

My thanks to Hannah Leah for facilitating and Credo Conduit for hosting!