This collaborative installation was inspired by the common practice artists have of trading artworks with each other, or gifting artworks to other artists. These trades or gifts are often small works. Visiting an artist’s home is like visiting a small museum, a private collection in which artworks and artistic objects are intermingled. The idea to create an installation that included miniature artworks was inspired in particular by two works in my personal collection: a four-inch square painting by Emily Hoerdemann, and a paint object by Margie Livingston that measures less than two inches on any side. Many works in my personal collection, including these, came into my possession by mail, or by hand-delivery after traveling by air. The risk of loss or damage in transit adds to the content of the work for me; the diminutive presence belies each work’s strength and resilience. The thought and care of the artist in delivering the work is just as significant.
In preparation for an international artist residency in New York, I thought about carrying artworks with me, and the value the artworks held for me due to the relationships I had with the artists. I devised ways to display small artworks using structures made of lightweight materials such as canvas and insulation foam. I created a large installation in my New York studio that integrated a range of small works by other artists. I titled the work To Carry, To Hold, a description of my gratitude for these small works and the artists who made them. To Carry, To Hold was exhibited during the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) Summer Open House. The artists included fell into several categories: artists whose works were already in my possession; artists I knew and wanted to offer an exhibition opportunity; and artists with whom I wanted to forge a new relationship. The latter included the international artists I was meeting at the residency. The promise to continue exhibiting the artworks given or entrusted to me created a bond that is ongoing.
The next iteration of the collaborative exhibition is titled Carry Weight, Hold Light, an imperative that refers not only to mass and light, but also to burdens and the lifting of those burdens. Interconnectivity is the main theme of this exhibition, and the connectivity itself implies acceptance of differences. The diversity of expression by the works in the exhibition is celebrated, while at the same time, the works are unified by the larger framework of the installation.
I will continue to reinvent the installation for different exhibition venues, and I anticipate that the project will change and grow over the course of years, if not decades. My goal is to broaden the experience of the artists included and all audiences. The artists included share with me the belief that when artists who choose to support each other benefit in numerous ways. Sabina Ott exemplified this spirit in Who Cares for the Sky?, her monumental interactive installation at the Hyde Park Art Center in 2016 that featured small artworks by more than eighty other artists. A significant historical precedent for a larger installation created to house smaller works by other artists is Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau.
Carry Weight, Hold Light currently celebrates the work of artists:
Peter Ahart, Svetlana Bailey, Jessica Bingham, Brandi Bowman, Jan Brandt, Michael Brown, Erin Buczynski, William Butler, Randy Carlson, Scott Cavanah, Grace Chien, Martha Churukian, Jack Crouch, Suzanne Dittenber, Alexandra Dupont, Mike Gilbert, Jude Griebell, Alfonso Gozalbez, Nichole Gronvold-Roller, Emily Hoerdemann, William Holton, Kari Hooten, Pei Hsuan-Wang, Rose Hubbard, Chris Hutson, Anna Hutson, Doug Johnson, Yasemin Kackar Demirel, Susan Klein, Paul Komada, Mary Beth Koszut, Hattie Lee, Margie Livingston, Nana Ekow Maison, Fritjof Mangerich, Alexander Martin, Susan Moore, Martina Nehrling, Susanne Nestory, Nicholas Nyland, Carrie Patterson, Lisa Nelson Raabe, Mark Rospenda, Kelly Scarfe, Ajarn Somlock, Marjorie Van Cura, Natalia Zaluska, Susan Ziegler
There are currently artists from twelve countries represented.