Mine was a Crooked Path – Skowhegan Notes (2009)
Picturing Us Together
It Wasn't Little Rock
Making Artist's Books
The Site of Transition from Female to Male
In so Many Words
Reliving My Mother's Struggle
The Plaintiff Speaks
Witness to Dissent
Women of Color
Taking the Private Public
American Black Student
Conversation at the Table opened on April 7, 2006 as a celebration of the commonalities of human experience. Three groups of artists held the event around a long table to share interpretations of our components: Mind, Body, and Spirit. Graham worked with Puertorriqueno Taller to explore “body”, while Kimberly Camp and the Clay Studio focused on “spirit” in the form of bowls. Sligh’s group of individual artists (Hana Iverson, Andrea Poulsen, Blaise Tobia, and Virginia Maksymowicz) presented representations of the human mind.
At first I thought to suggest to the artists I was meeting that we do something with book and paper. But realizing that the process of arriving at the final piece was probably more important than the thing itself, I decided to go into the meeting without suggesting an outcome. In the end, our individual paths came together like a patchwork quilt.
The Meditation Room is an intimate space separated from the main part of the installation. It is covered completely with a reflective silver fabric, except for the ceiling, which houses dim lights. Six pillows with commemorative embroidery encourage sitting cross-legged on the floor. I envisioned a quiet space separate from all distractions, where the viewer can sit and be with his or her own mind.
Like thoughts that run during meditation, Hana Iverson’s audio piece intermittently fills the Meditation Room with sounds recorded during a dinner conversation. The five of us met at an intimate restaurant weeks before the FWM opening to eat, drink, and talk about what it means be conscious as a human being. The night precluded A Conversation at the Table, and this sound piece remembers it to visitors of the installation.
Before entering the space for listening and meditation, Andrea Poulsen’s piece asks visitors to write their first memory on a small card. The ongoing collection of handwritten personal experiences is displayed in compartmental shelves set into the wall.
Nearby a slide projection by Blaise Tobia investigates the collective mind of present day society, as it is represented in the macrocosm of the internet. He made several Google Image searches based on terms used during our group’s meetings, and compiled the visual representations of Mind.
Virginia Maksymowicz used down feathers as a metaphor for the way thought meanders through the Mind. The feathers were piled in one corner of the room near Blaise Tobia's projections that included images of down and milkweed seedpods. Gradually, and almost imperceptibly, they spread around the gallery during the course of the exhibit, sticking to visitors, making their way into the meditation room and into people's laundry baskets at home
We would like to thank the staff at the Fabric Workshop Museum, whose gracious support turned our ideas into the physical installation.