Monday, September 22, 2014

Spheres of Cat Hair and an Orange Chair

I took this photograph two summers ago around the time I was emulating obsessive activities professors did in art departments. I finally showed it to my inspiration - the person who rolls cat hair into spheres - last year. Fortunately, he wasn't horrified and that gave me permission to carry on (and post it now). After this photograph was taken, I started another activity (talking to a plant and recording my conversations) last January after my former professor who acquired dementia and was found conversing with cacti on campus. Once a month after each faculty meeting, I sat next to a bush and talked to it as if it was she. She died prematurely last summer and I was never able to say good-bye. That was such a depressing endeavor that I stopped after four months, not particularly interested in ever hearing the sound recordings again.

More stories were collected from friends and colleagues and I kept wondering what the point was in my recreation. I was interested in the subject matter but grew despondent thinking I would become these "characters" when they were, in reality, not like me at all.

In May, I saw this chair in the old watercolor classroom at Boise State University and my heart flew into my chest and everything changed.

I remembered this chair from our last acquaintance in 1995. It resided in my Dad's office for years, providing a seat for students during open office hours. I even recognized the blue paint.

Suddenly, I knew that the work I must make had less to do with other people's experiences in the art department and more of my own. I have thought about these photographs all summer - the white one above was the most important image I made on the residency. My return to Boise State earlier this month allowed more access to the photography, drawing and painting classrooms. I am working with the original locations but still telling stories through the objects I find there and the actions that took place in those spaces many years ago.

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