In an L-shaped gallery on North Avenue, Shannon Collis and Liz Donadio have recreated Miles Stafford Ralph’s 1975 Form Fountain. The original, located at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School is at first glance a fair bit brighter than its virtual copy, more children’s playground than meditative space, and it seems at first that the artists have merely restored an outdated utopian vision. But by inviting us into their meditative work, Collis and Donadio have brought to light what we overlook when we reduce public space to a photograph, framed, concrete and empty, and that is our encounters within it. Their multiple layered physical experience instead exceeds the original’s limited utopian vision, offering Form Fountain a relevant place not just in the present but also securing it a place in the future.
The first encounter with Singular Space appears as if you are approaching it from a distance, perhaps from across a road, a two-dimensionally framed view that hints at the physical space within. The camera twists and turns pulling you in on the crest of a crashing wave, the sound of which turns out to be the flow of traffic in this hard-working city. And this is the beauty of Singular Space, just as the utopian soundscape and drifting images draw you in they quickly spit you out again, back to a physical reality. The message is clear from the outset, this space is real, relevant and its yours.
Step around the corner and you find yourself on the verge of Singular Space. The shift is subtle. Its not immediately clear what has happened until your eye catches shapes, strategically placed to catch images on their surfaces. I find myself looking down, into, and get caught in the motion carried up some steps (or is it down?) through the monument. Spend enough time here and you will notice the change in pace. The movement is calmer, the sound lighter, giving way to bird song and what sounds like a drop of water. An experience once grounded now has the quality of air but always looking towards that certain ground, the shifting plates that encourage you to move on and step in.
Which is what you do in the final act as your body interrupts the last of the five projections, your shadows cast, concrete, into the work. Even if you don’t choose to, you’ll find yourself there because this space is public space and it has been made for you.
Shannon Collis & Liz Donadio
Institute of Contemporary Art
16 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD
Using the material world as catalyst for the projection of unconscious contents, each work aims to amplify primitive feminine knowledge which is seen as both suppressed and the means by which we can begin to heal the world’s wounds.
Spirit Lake/Kirk Wall video installation
SLUICE: Exchange Berlin, November 2018
“Elaine Fisher explores archetypal questions about femininity, soul and nature in her installation, ‘Spirit Lake’. Reduced video works of a falling leaf and a crow in flight presented on two monitors on an upper and a lower level, a conscious and a subconscious level, draw the viewer into the dream”
“The atmosphere of the sinister ice lake is impressively evoked by the artist’s reduced, dominating white……a deliberately disturbing sound installation in which you can hear the sound of a crow in slow motion…….the two works are mutually dependent……The installation calms and troubles at the same time.”
The (re)making of Spirit Lake highlighted a significantly expanded role for the primitive right hemisphere as both pre-conscious originator (the impulse to video a tree in the wind and the unknown ‘gift’ of a falling leaf), ambiguous collector (the pre-conscious association of flying crow and falling leaf) and active responder to the limitations of consciousness (creative solutions emerged in response to failed attempts to solidify a messy background; a mis-click added the unknown ‘gift’ of a panning function). In neuro-science the left hemisphere is a (noisy?) processor, constantly referring data back to (agitating a response from?) the right hemisphere for further creative output. In these terms we can perhaps more hopefully view the role of Trickster (Crow/Raven) in the world (through Kirk Wall) as an opportunity for renewed and focussed creative action.
Spirit Lake/Kirk Wall forms part of a wider body of work, Creation Myths, completed at Aside Gallery and Studios, 1501 Guilford Avenue, aka The CopyCat Building. 1501 Guilford Avenue has come to be synonymous with the owner of its former roof top billboard (The Copycat Printing Company) despite being home to many different manufacturing industries at that time. Part of Baltimore’s artistic community since the 1980s, the Copycat Building continues to struggle to recognise its inner life, caught as it is between a desire to legitimise artist live/work studios and a legal black hole that is not able to facilitate a zoning change.
Kirk Wall was filmed on the ruined site of the Earl’s Palace in Kirkwall, Orkney. In the early 1600s Lord Orkney decided that the existing Bishop’s Palace was inadequate for his needs. He extended the complex by building a new Earl’s Palace on the adjoining Land which he acquired by fabricating charges and trying and executing the current owner for theft.
Spirit Lake was filmed on the shores of Grand Lake, Colorado. Given the name batan-naache (meaning Holy Lake or Spirit Lake) by the Arapaho Indians, Grand Lake is also the site of The Legend of the Buffalo, a supernatural beast seen emerging from a hole of open water at the centre of the ice-covered lake in winter. In Ute Indian tradition the lake is “bad medicine”. During an attack by an Arapahoe/Cheyenne Indian war party, women and children found refuge on a raft cast out into the lake. A curiously strong wind raised a monstrous wave which capsized the raft and all were drowned. When the lake freezes over in the winter, it is said that one can hear the urgent cries of the women and children beneath the surface.
psychological geography is a term used by Marie Louise Von Franz in her book Creation Myths to describe certain constellations of the landscape that serve to catalyze the projection of inherited archetypal patterns of representation. Thus we find in landscape ‘fitting places’ for certain deeds, fantasies and ideas (1972 revised 1995 Shambhala Publications p317). In contrast to Von Franz’s phenomenal (and feminine?) psychological geography, Psychogeography, a term coined by Guy Debord in 1955, has developed into a (masculine?) cause and effect pathology where geochemical profiles, geomagnetic variations and tectonic stresses are identified as causes of schizophrenia, epidemics of unusual behaviours and psychosis.
a weekend of exhibitions, performances, talks & screenings 16 – 18 November Kühlhaus, Luckenwalder Straße 3, 10963 Berlin
Sluice Exchange is a biennial expo bringing together galleries and projects that share similar foundational ideologies of independence and artistic engagement. I will be showing work as part of OSR Projects Weather Station with Simon Lee Dicker, Laura Hopes and Alexander Stevenson.
EXCHANGE is broadly themed around the local as transnational ideas battle re-emergent nationalistic tendencies. The artist/curator-led scene is often tied to the local (usually influenced by funding parameters or lack of funding altogether). But there is often an awareness that if the local isn’t positioned within a broader inter/national context that it risks becoming parochial. EXCHANGE BERIN focuses on the importance of solidarity, inclusion and collaboration. Is there a way to square internationalism with the destructive nature of globalisation? As nationalism rears its head around the world what response does art have?
Saturday, October 13 & Sunday, October 14 10am-6pm
Open Studio Tour is an annual city-wide event organised by School 33 Art Centre. Each year, collectors and art lovers have the opportunity to visit artists in their studios, see their work, and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their working processes.
On Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14, visit the studios of more than 100 artists located throughout Baltimore City to view and purchase their original works of art, including paintings, sculptures and photographs during this self-guided tour.
Reliable Objects II (Baltimore)
We only become aware that home is the psychological foundation of human experience when it is disturbed and we are disorientated. Reliable objects draws our attention to the drive to re-make home and asks what happens when disturbing objects become the reliable things we want to reassemble.