This is an example of a Javanese sarong or sarung, defined as a tubular skirt wrapped at the hips and ending at the ankles. The word sarung is derived from the Malay spelling and is loosely used to define any kind of sheath or cover. The figures depicted are wayang kulit figures, or traditional Indonesian shadow puppets.
Sitting in the studio, working through materials and planning out the space, I have been thinking about a lot of things in an associative way. What I mean by this is that I often make objects that remind me of certain processes and objects through my own personal associations.
I am so pleased (and continuously awestruck by the power of time passing) to acknowledge the summer solstice of 2021. This is the time we celebrate long days and perhaps hot nights. A few things have been cooking in the Studio EPB world that I’d like to share.
Our home base is in Bushwick, NY and despite this bizarre, disruptive year of pandemic we have had, lots has been happening here. Read on to get a glimpse into some projects and news.
All this stuff happening over the course of the year and what is interesting is I did not really know what was going on, because no one did. But I ordered these threads, these ropes the week before, and they arrived that weekend before we left. So, I started this piece exactly a year ago and it feels kind of momentous to have the anniversary be today.
In the Holy Wow, we are exploring a “richly nuanced sensitivity”. What do you know? We want to know. What have you seen and done and felt? They are your badges of honor on your path of transformation. You have been wounded, but you have never been broken.
During a studio visit last week, I spent five of the seven minutes I had talking about the spider mite infestation that has recently become a dominant organic process on our plants. Apparently, the mites had also infested my thoughts. “The plants are an important metaphor for what is happening here” I announced to my visitor. It felt like there was important meaning and metaphor to be observed...
We’ve organized, archived and cataloged most of the fibers paintings from the past eight years or so. I started writing about them, and then got tangled in the layers of meaning they have to me. I made a list other ways to define a painting.
I knew I wanted to do other things besides for paint; I knew I wasn’t obsessed enough. My self-doubt was stoked, and I made the decision to walk away from attempting to render anatomy. “Painting is dead” I would announce in my demoralized state to anybody who asked why I had stopped this thing I loved so much. It was so much easier to blame a movement than recognize my own inability to participate. I took my hands off of making painting away for many years. But I never stopped asking question about painting.
A Bushwick-based artist collective working in contemporary and traditional fibers process, dedicated to confronting the divide between notions of “art” and “craft”. We believe that fibers practice is historically rooted in the domestic sphere, inextricably linked to feminism and speaks to the role of labor. Acknowledging both personal narratives and institutional history, members seek to create new models for making and viewing work. SNAG rejects the need for a white cube model or canonization, instead drawing inspiration from DIY ethic and punk ideology.
For the duration of five weeks, I occupied the Secret Dungeon Project space in Bushwick, building the installation from the inside out out of clothesline sourced from the local 99 cent store. Working with clothesline had me thinking about both domestic labor and the textile industry. Eventually, when I ran out of materials at the 99 cent store, I started going to the warehouse in Maspeth to buy the rope in bulk. Through this process, I learned about the supply chain of this seemingly benign material and built relationships with people along the way.
In late autumn of 2019, I boarded a nineteen-hour flight to Singapore. A week later, I arrived to Indonesia, where I would complete a residency at the Babaran Segaragunung Culture House in Jogjakarta. I would scratch the surface of the mythical, complex, and ancient practice of batik; a wax-resist process used to create textile artwork. Agus Ismoyo is a master batik artist and teacher and together with his wife, Nia, he has created a center for teaching, learning, and practicing the batik according to ancient and contemporary Indonesian cultural worldview.
“Descending from a beam hangs an assemblage of ties of all sorts. Within the braided mass dangle pieces of wood and foam, which help to plump and shape the sculpture, which resembles a necktie in itself. Behind the sculpture is a projection of videos of men and women explaining how to tie a tie, set to the soundtrack of motivational speakers discussing ritual and long-term goals. The ultimate effect is the viewer is engulfed by the symbol of the American Dream.” –Shannon Stearns
The inception for this piece began when I came into my first quarantine in March 2020. I packed 6,000 feet of black parachute cord made of nylon to take with me. I tried to treat the whole experience of quarantine as if it were a project and task myself with crocheting a calendar for the time, trusting a natural end point through discomfort and uncertainty.