When the media tried to define your identity, how did you react to this scrutiny? The media came out of nowhere into my life. They apparently discovered this blonde woman casting dirty manhole covers on the streets of New York. Everyone just goes on by.
That very night, I was featured on all the evening news programmes, caught working on my castings in the streets of New York, seeming not to notice that I was surrounded by a crowd of people who, of course, had been attracted by the TV cameras. After that, all sorts of TV shows endlessly called me, but the worst for me was that I was identified on all those news programmes and newspapers as a Pop artist.
He wanted to photograph me doing this. Brown had triggered all this world-wide publicity about the manhole covers, even though it had shocked him, too. I suppose he saw what I was doing now as my second act. I should have felt grateful, but actually, I felt horrified and did not want to be portrayed in that way.
This is what success is. I then moved myself out to the country and was accused of running away from fame. I now realize, what I did not know then — that I had a lot in common with the way Pop artists saw things in the 60s.
It sounded good for a minute and then you realized that people were being crushed under authoritative social control, from one group over another group. It was as if current metaphors had lost universal meaning and a younger generation no longer felt included with the times that they lived in. You began to explore the potential of plaster as a medium with which to capture the fleeting and temporal….
In the country I had to start anew, so I used plaster to cast my own body. I was looking for basic facts that I could discover and, perhaps then, to go on to build new metaphors. I started by identifying my own body when I cast it with plaster and I went on to use PlexiFoam, which under pressure against my skin, would take the form of my own body. It included pores and had a flesh-like colour, which I highlighted with spray paint.
I drew around myself and even around the full body of a horse and other animals. Pursuing my belief in making art — with nature as the leading partner — I remember looking down at a path I made through the woods, in order to take daily walks with my dogs. In the following days, I saw deer tracks, turkey prints, and even bear prints on my path. I then cast all of their tracks. They all found my path the easiest one to follow through the wild terrain.
- Prometheus Bound (Greek Tragedy in New Translations).
- Softly Awakes My Heart (from Samson And Delilah).
- Beautiful As Yesterday;
- About This Item.
We came at different times, perhaps, but we all went the same way, inadvertently, keeping the path open for each other; I felt a real connection. This was the fourth configuration that I had made from its different segments. It was made of latex, resin, plaster, and shadows that were produced by special lighting effects.
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So, what started for me, in , on the Bridle Path in Central Park, continues now. I have been so proud in the last forty or fifty years of my artwork that I have let nature lead and I have followed. But in this one instance, consciously or unconsciously, something in me, I suspect, has controlled the narrative here.
I was visiting a defunct game farm and I stumbled upon an open pit; it was full of the bones of many different animals that I could not identify. It was also full of water. I wondered how the animals at that game farm came to such an end. I have no doubt that something of that narrative has influenced the meaning of this piece, and I must admit, I am leading and not following with this one aspect of the work, so I have broken my way of finding truth.
Odd that you picked up on it. I hung the bones with the rusted barbed wire running through them to create a kind of multiple animal. By hanging them up, I felt that force could be best seen — even the bones of some of the skeletal animals seemed to defy their own death. I added the farm implements and barbed wire, which I found in the barns.
In turn, the half-undone spools of rusted barbed wire seem, to me, to have naturally encircled the bones and the cats. The cat might be trapped or pouncing, suggesting an expressive energy conveying…. I feel that this work made itself; I just gathered the animals and implements into the space. I found one cat under the ice, looking as though it could still claw its enemy. Another was found under leaves in a barn. Both were naturally mummified. Both personified and projected their extreme life force.see url
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He felt that the work exemplified a reunification of the terrible rift that happened approximately around the third century A. Can you explain this? Yes, there is absolutely a connection. All my installations came about from my search for evidence of my connection to the earth, to the animals and to the apparatus that held them, to the trees, roots, even to rushing water.
In my search, I was driven to cast everything in nature, that I could. Finally, instead of the castings, I went on to include the thing itself. Doing these works, I found I was not only connected to, but that I fit in with all the others of the earth. However, the day in that I rubbed a charcoal shadow image of a little girl on a cast manhole cover, I realized it was coming from a part of me that the animals would not share. Perhaps they have too much sense; they live in the now. I, on the other hand, am haunted by fleeting images of the temporal and driven to present them.
I have found that hoof prints are not just hoof prints left by one horse for the other to follow. When I cast a single hoof print in a field, I feel a connection to a horse. But when I present a hundred hoof prints in plaster and cast them back in latex, showing the two masses interacting, using lights to produce shadows, I have presented time passing. This perception of time is one way we humans differ from animals, along with the capacity to dream, to cry, to laugh, to invent science, and to create art… I guess I am stuck, if not compelled, to follow my own nature.
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Imprints, foot prints and shadows are also like a negative, a duality of something that is there but not there — a fragile echo of presence. So I carried pounds of plaster on my back to the beach where these prints were, and dragged with me a garbage pail of water. I saw that there was a storm coming up and suddenly it was upon me.
It turned out I had compressed one vertebra between two others.
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Retrieving that piece, to capture that fleeting moment, to get that exact instance when those imprints were in danger of disappearing…I had actually risked my life. I felt impelled to cast it, to keep it, just because it was so ephemeral and transitory. I wanted to hold onto it by making it into a physically permanent object. It is not only a memory of that moment I wanted, but I knew that if I could cast that imprint, I could hang on to the fleeting second when something passes and by having a form to hold it, I could revisit it and know it better. Where did this impetus originate — when you met the little girl you mentioned?
It all began in , when I was casting a manhole cover, and I was erroneously being identified as a Pop artist. In response, I used some black pastel and quickly smudged the shadow onto my piece. I looked up and saw a little girl. What was so important about the shadow that I had drawn on my cast was that it seemed to be the same thing in life as it was in art — and appeared just as quickly. She could walk away and it would now stay on my board. The capture of the fleeting moment has been the essence of my work ever since.
In , I went to Africa where I saw a volcanic pouring of lava, frozen in place.