UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Archive: ART WALL August 31, 2016 - February 12, 2017..
"If you are hit on the head with a kaleidoscope, does that mean you see stars?"
If you are hit on the head with a kaleidoscope, does that mean you see stars?
August 2016, 60' x 24', Acrylic, Wool, and Cotton Fibers
ART WALL, BAMPFA
BAMPFA resides at the epicenter of a great research institution within a town that has a rich history of revolution and activism embedded in counterculture and social justice. When I conceived of this project, I envisioned a wall of “WOW.” Dark Energy (UC Berkeley Nobel Prize) meets Telegraph Avenue. The title, If you are hit on the head with a kaleidoscope, does that mean you see stars?, is a metaphor for inspiration, neuroplasticity, and discovery, and is a call for action. Brain scientists have discovered that it can take many years and hard work to feel inspired, or it can happen instantaneously in what seems like a random moment.
During the many hours I spent weaving this yarn painting I could not ignore the world around me: the senseless and random acts of terror and violence, domestic and abroad; the corrosive political environment, including the bigotry and divisiveness of this presidential election; and the sudden death of a close friend halfway through this project. Inspiration and loss began to feel very connected. Something big is breaking open in this country and the world. The climate is radioactive and so are the woven panels.
The process of weaving is unforgiving, mathematical, and imperfect. There is no painting over. It is like a digital printer, generated from the bottom to the top until an image is formed. The woven panels tell a story about the impact, instability, intensity, or even violence that leads to insight and inspiration. The electricity that ignites action. Violent pretty. That which is so breathtaking or horrifying, it does not go unnoticed. It summons movement or action.
Weaving color. Yarn as paint. For years I have explored abstract painting through a wide variety of media from kinetic sculpture to temporary installations. Since I am relatively new to weaving, that is exactly how I approach the loom. Like a curious painter. I have BOXES of yarns sorted by color and fiber. I welcome the tension between the natural fibers next to mass-produced artificial neon color yarn or even painted cotton piping. I am interested in the sickly sweet, awkward, uncertain, chromatic, theatrical, and ornate because it mirrors the unhinged world we live in.
Fear of color, chromophobia, is fear of race, sexuality, and life itself. Bright colors are often associated with children, homosexuality, sensuality, the other, or drug culture. Psychedelia. Yet, color has the power to transcend. A rainbow zigzag weaves through the panels. Acid yellow underscores the whole wall. The Art Wall is a patchwork comprising three series of panels: inspiration/radioactivity, transition, memorial or light coming through loss. All through a filter of optimism.
The Art Wall is commissioned by BAMPFA and made possible by major funding from Frances Hellman and Warren Breslau.