Exported: Ariel Herwitz – Marble House Project, Dorset, Vermont
Text and Photos by Ariel Herwitz
Vermont holds a special place in my heart. And returning there for the residency at Marble House Project, now in its fourth year, I was struck by the green, the lush rolling hills, the tall wild grasses and the green tint of long unused marble quarries. The residency is housed on a defunct marble quarry in a large house clad in white Danby Marble, with formal spring-fed gardens based on those originally built during the Renaissance, and amongst many outbuildings. The Marble House Project hosts up to 9 residents at a time – some visual and performing artists, as well as writers, musicians, curators, and a newly instated Chef residency – in several sessions per summer. Residents live and work on the “campus” with small private studios, have focused time for their art along with working in the gardens, weekly events open to the public, and cooking and eating with the other session residents.
I tend towards making swift work, with long periods of quiet, and then long periods of preparation, with a burst of energy in the studio. A three-week residency, though it seems relatively short, should be plenty of time for me to create a body of work. But despite what I believed to be ample time, in a region in which I am somewhat familiar, I had quite a struggle finding a rhythm. There seemed too much to be distracted by, and so much to look at and wonder about.
As I labored through different dying processes, finding as much time as I could between rain clouds to dry the yarn, I made myself slow down and think about process. I thought about endings and beginnings and how sometimes we don’t have the answers and we can’t find the correct paths, and I hoped that was ok. I hoped that getting away from my studio to restart and refresh was allowed to feel like this. That it was acceptable to struggle.
As I began to move through the work, I utilized any sunny days to work outside. It was important to me to feel a part of the landscape, even if the work I made would ultimately be inside, and removed from this location. In this way, the act of making the work, made it indelibly part of the experience of place.
Moving back and forth between my studio and the greater campus of Marble House, I experienced the solitary moments, the still moments, the moments of closing inward. Outside, the space was vast, though I was still generally alone, the space was open and full. This expansion and contraction is strongly associated with my work and process. The building of large open forms, with the eventual breaking down of shape and line. Bringing the works inside, also brought the memory of the outside, in. It gave the works the markings of dirt and grass.
The completion of the work involved a literal balancing act. Each day for three days, I set up the work, went to sleep for the night, and returned to find the piece in a jumble on the ground. This process of repetition, of creating something new from the same bones, helped me to see the work in a new way. The process, though similar to what I’ve done in the past, had a real direct relationship to the struggle to make work that I was feeling everyday.
I’ve been back in my home studio for about a week now, unpacking the work shipped from Vermont, and again beginning the process of making new form from existing lines. I feel energized and excited after the somewhat stressful three-weeks away. But certainly, there is so much generated in that struggle to find shape.
Left to Right: Joseph Brent (musician), Amanda Szeglowski (composer and dancer, Artistic Director of Cakeface), me!, Emma Heaney (author, The New Woman: Literary Modernism, Queer Theory, and the Trans Feminine Allegory), Daniel Greenberg (printmaker, sculptor), Janna Dyk (curator and artist), Devin Farrand (painter and sculptor), Tobaron Waxman (multidisciplinary)
Thanks Ariel! See more of Ariel Herwitz’ work at her website: http://ariel.herwitz.com/
Ariel Herwitz (b.1983 Atlanta, GA.) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She earned a B.A. in Visual Art from Bennington College in 2006, and an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2011. Her work has been exhibited throughout Los Angeles at Marine Projects, Loudhailer Gallery, Greene Exhibitions, and Ambach and Rice. She completed her first solo exhibition last fall at Ochi Projects. Her works explore through form, composition, color and texture, ideas of interpretation, understanding, and the subjectivity of the view or gaze.
Exported: Eirik Johnson at Donkey Mill Art Center, Hawaii
Text and Photos by Eirik Johnson
This past February, I traveled to Holualoa, a small town in the coffee producing hills of the Big Island of Hawaii. I had been invited to participate as artist in residence at the Donkey Mill Art Center, a community arts space housed in an old farming cooperative. I arrived with broad stroke ideas for my residency, but my intention was to remain open and receptive to the place and those I met.
That notion of place was a recurring and connecting concept during my stay. Over meals and conversations with kupunas, elders from the community, I learned about the history of Holualoa; of families whose relatives had left impoverished Japan in the late 19 th Century under labor contract to work in the island’s sugar cane mills and later homestead small coffee farms in the volcanic hills of the region. I learned of the ghosts who wander subterranean lava tubes, bamboo forests and mountain ridges.
That connection with Holualoa’s past was given further context while working with a group of local teens with whom I collaborated on a series of photographic and video-based portraits. We looked at the history of portraiture in art, brainstormed visual memories, and worked together to compose and create works that connected back to my conversations with the kupunas.
Much of my residency was simply spent wandering and exploring, both in and around Holualoa, but also further afield. I watched the sunset from the Mauna Kea volcano, explored old movie theaters in Honokaa and Hawi, and discovered beach crab holes amidst tiny bits of plastic washed up from the Pacific Ocean Gyre.
During my residency, I stayed as a guest of Hiroki and Setsuko Morninoue. Both renowned artists, the Morinoues, together with their daughter Maki and her husband Geoff, were generous in aloha spirit, knowledge, and participation. Their eldest daughter Miho Morinoue helped facilitate my entire residency at the Donkey Mill and was pivotal in connecting me with the entire community.
Now, as I begin the work of looking back through photographs, editing video, and listening to audio files, I daydream of Holualoa and the smell of coffee blossoms.
Film Still of Hiroki at the Coffee Farm
Althea with Rotten Fruit
Brunch with Kupunas
EXPORTED: Katy Lester
We first met Katy Lester after her graduation from the University of Washington’s Photography program last year. We were immediately taken by her work, her energy, and her engagement with the arts community. Today she is sharing a very tender and heart-felt EXPORTED from her recent trip to Ireland. Enjoy, and visit her website to see more work here: http://www.katyvlester.com/
Katy Lester: “I’ve always felt very fortunate to be so close to my family. While my dad comes from a small family of just my Grandma, his sister, and himself, my mother is the oldest of six children (most of which still live in Southern California where I grew up) and since I can remember I’ve considered several of her siblings to be some of my best friends. There is so much about this that I am grateful for – through the different people and endlessly changing dynamics, it’s taught me how to communicate appropriately, how to be responsible for myself and others, and how to love people in different ways. However, being so close with some people inevitably means you’re more distant from others, and in a familial relationship this can be especially difficult. While I often find myself incredibly, inexplicably synced up with the people closest to me, I’ve also found that there are awkward and unwanted distances, silences, and misunderstandings that are nearly impossible to resolve or avoid because of fundamental differences in who we have become as people.
My family’s recent trip to Ireland was bittersweet in so many ways. The purpose of the trip initially served to celebrate my mother’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, but was very much influenced by the heartbreaking fact that my Grandad is terminally ill. As one might imagine, it’s not easy to get my grandparents, their six children, and each person’s spouse and kids all in once place at the same time – but we managed to get everyone (21 people) over to Ireland for a two and a half week celebration together. I think for many of us the trip was a stark realization that this could be our final moments and memories with my Grandad, as some members of my family only see him every once a year, and we’re all together so sparsely. While for several of us, including myself, this realization is a constant reminder not to be withholding of my feelings and thoughts; but, for others this seemed like too difficult a task, and remained more of a reason to protect their hearts and guard their immediate families.
To me, the images I produced on this trip reflect the intimacy I have and treasure with some family members, the intimacy I try to have with others, and trying to absolve my love, discomfort, sadness, confusion, and the distance between where the two meet.”
EXPORTED: Kimberly Trowbridge | Studio of Oliveira Tavares in Portugal
One thing that makes travel so valuable for artists is the ability to observe and connect with artists from other regions, cultures, and communities. Today, Seattle-based artist Kimberly Trowbridge takes us along as she visits the studio of Portuguese painter, Oliveira Tavares.
Visiting the Studio of Oliveira Tavares, Borba, Portugal
A short drive through the countryside brings us to the atelier of the Portuguese painter, Oliveira Tavares (Antonio). His home/ studio is nestled in the landscape amid vineyards. As we arrive, an orange cat sneaks-up on a small frog and we watch as the agile green body leaps at the last instant into the water. Antonio welcomes us with great kindness and shows us his sensitive, breathtaking works on paper and a corridor lined with his paintings. He serves us green tea with mint.
EXPORTED: MKNZ in Vienna
VIENNA, AN EXEMPLARY CASE OF LOVE WITHOUT RESPITE
In times of performance, during its gestation, its realization, and its aftermath, everything seems fated: every circumstance, every choice, every unanticipated generosity, and surely every setback. Performance creates an extended experience of coincidence; a prolonged sense of the present, achieved through fits of bravery and willingness to suffer– or, perhaps more specifically, a desire to reap suffering’s benefits.
Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell (‘Ryan’), director of the theatre company, Saint Genet (which many of my dearest friends, lovers, and colleagues have been involved with over the years), invited me to fly out to Vienna to collaborate with him on the 72 hour performance, An Exemplary Case of Love without Respite. I would join him each day at dawn and at dusk for a ritual involving wine, honey, leaching, bleeding, tattooing, and gold-leafing. The time between these two rituals was filled with a 30km procession, completed by Ryan, with consuming devotion, each day.
My role in these 72 hours involved descending onto the ‘stage’ of a stark, candlelit factory in Traiskirchen, Austria and, in the evening, the small, white-walled, Charim Gallierie in downtown Vienna. The stage of each location was indicated by a rectangular layer of slowly deteriorating sod, filled with the sounds of peeping chicks and the heartbreaking compositions of Brian Lawlor, executed by a trio of strings and keyboard. I would remove my shirt and shoes and walk slowly to my mark, while Ryan finished a bottle of red wine; thinned blood streaming from his wrist around the body of a fat, throbbing leach. I would walk to a neatly folded nurse’s gown (starched, linen white, dating back to 1940s Austria, and sourced by Patrizia Ruthensteiner, who was responsible for the creation of a striking pussy willow mask, worn by Ryan during each procession). Upon approaching the gown, I would wait to be carefully dressed by Patrizia. Each day a new gown, each gown soiled by blood, dirt and honey. On my knees, I would assemble a tray of materials to tattoo Ryan, freehand and without machine. I would wait at my station, while he struggled to undress; drunk, sleep deprived, sore, and sticky with sweat and honey. He would make his way to lie at my knees, belly up, trembling (especially in the mornings, when the factory was chilled and damp). Over 6 sessions, I completed a tattoo on the right side of his ribcage, content unknown to everyone but me. During each tattoo, a stream of honey poured over Ryan’s face, into his mouth, ear, and nostrils, sometimes choking him, causing him to gag and writhe. His bleeding arm would clutch and stain my thigh during the process. At the end, I would decorate his face in gold leaf and pussy willow buds, then rise, undress, and leave the stage.
I am an untrained performer. I have a limited, novice education in performance art and tremendous stage fright. But I am compelled by a brief feeling of freedom I experience in the throes of performance. For me, this is a kind of freedom derived from the hungry and inescapable energy of a crowd. Historically, I have created performance works that involve a significant amount of physical discomfort, or some display of strength and stamina, to distract me from my apprehension. This is the first role in which those elements have been absent. Of course, my task involved emotional endurance and conscious effort to proceed while a person I care for suffered at my lap. This moral compromise, for me, was thoroughly premeditated and acceptable- no, necessary, for Ryan and I to get nearer to understanding the concepts we had been exploring; for us to begin to name our actions; to respect the collaborators, the audience, and the sanctity of each passing ritual. It became obvious, as each of the six sessions passed, how crucial it was that they were all completed.
Photo: Ethan Folk
On my way from the airport, my first day in Vienna, my driver told me the city is built like a snail, with districts spiraling from its center. The streets in our neighborhood were littered with smoky, dark cafes and Turkish markets. I’d be staying at Mo.ë, a contemporary art space converted from an old warehouse, with a small residency area in the upstairs unit.
Each morning at 3:30am, we’d get coffee at Liman, a big cafe and kebab near Mo.ë, and wait for a van to take us to the factory in Traiskirchen for the dawn performance. We would return to Liman around 8am, for Turkish breakfast: a pool of honey with a pat of butter floating on top, sliced cucumber and tomato, a pile of olives, cheeses and hummus. The table got sliced loaves of white bread to sop it all up. Coffee with milk and a pack of Parisienne Milds. One ritual to come down from another.
Vienna is profoundly Catholic; everything is closed on Sundays, even grocery stores. And perhaps it is the pervasiveness of Catholicism that inadvertently encourages Vienna’s debaucherous and gritty underbelly of legal prostitution and unrestrained indulgence of cigarettes and libation. The moral makeup of a society is not hierarchical but circular. Good and Evil are a pendulum, a mirror; they require each other to survive; to be named. They are, at best, units of measure, creating sprawls of grey area for the rest of us to operate within. Perhaps Vienna’s perceived familiarity with this duality makes her a natural host for the work of Saint Genet; certainly for our recent performance.
There is a moment during a performance when failure clings to the air around you. It is stiff, unsympathetic and evident to everyone in the room. In my experience, it is in these moments when fear is replaced by a total, immovable obligation. Not an obligation to succeed, per se; success is uninteresting and unimportant, but an obligation to rise to the occasion, to be as present as possible, to turn inside out. Failure or success, you do it with your whole heart.
My principal role in this performance (born out of a shared desire between Ryan and myself) was to come up with the content and location of this tattoo without any input or direction from Ryan. It was to remain an uncertainty until the end of the final day.
This wasn’t the first time I engaged in a performance involving an unknown tattoo.
In April of 2013, my forearm was tattooed by my then girlfriend and collaborator, Taylor Pinton, while I simultaneously shouldered the weight of a large wall that leaned precariously over her body. The imagery of the tattoo was determined by Taylor in advance, and was not seen by me until the performance concluded.
Somewhere in the midst of the 72 hours of An Exemplary Case of Love without Respite, I thought about Taylor. Specifically, the look on her face after we exited our performance space, and before I looked down at the new tattoo on my forearm. Tears were welling in her eyes and she trembled anxiously over my imminent reaction to the new mark on my body; the mark she’d determined for me. My new tattoo read, darling if you want me to, a Prince lyric and a prophetic notion that has been slowly unfurling its significance ever since.
I loved it immediately.
When I remembered that look on her face, I recognized my immediate future. I knew that at the end of these 72 hours, I would stand in a bathroom with Ryan, waiting for him look at the new mark on his ribs. It felt right, felt fated, to know that I would have to experience this place of immense vulnerability that I had asked Taylor to occupy two years ago.
That relationship died abruptly and sometimes I feel that its carcass still lingers; acrid, rotten, never picked apart or swallowed up by the earth. Its bones never dried out and bleached into some tidy keepsake of the past. So when I have little revelations about that relationship, they feel particularly affecting. They bring me a little closer to resolve.
Photos: Courtney Howell
Ryan’s new tattoo reads, “LOVE ME OR KILL ME, BROTHER”, a line from the 17th century play ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, by John Ford. The play is centered on the incestuous and passionate relationship between a brother and sister. There is a scene in the play, when Giovanni (the brother) confesses his love and desire to his sister, Annabella, with the expectation that she will reject the indecency of his admission. She, instead, kneels before him and says, “Love me or kill me, brother”, to which he replies with great potency, “Love me or kill me, sister”. With this vow, they seal their fate. They proceed to love one another shamelessly, and without regard to the contempt in which they are held by society. And this passion brings them to a hasty and gruesome death. Near the end of the play, Annabella is faced with her executioner, and instead of pleading for her life, she sings defiantly of a love worth dying for; of her passion for her brother. In his book, The Theatre and its Double, Antonin Artaud refers to this moment as “an exemplary case of love without respite”.
Photos: Ethan Folk, MKNZ
I am writing from Reykjavik, Iceland – my final stop before heading back home to Seattle.
I am here to visit my best friend, Morgan, who moved here a year ago to make a home with her husband (and newly dear friend of mine), Sindri. They have graciously taken me in and shown me kindness in my exhausted state.
The air here is cold and sulfuric. The wind beats my face red, but I am serene. This landscape begs me to surrender and I oblige. The color of the country is muted, with mountains jutting out of fields like raw onyx. There are vast plains of craggy, black, volcanic matter, made still by the cold, and preserved in a lacquer of snow. The architecture of Reykjavik is modest and built to endure; homes made of concrete and painted aluminum roofs. Window sills decorated with sun bathing cats and porcelain tchotchkes. I’ve been eating smoked salmon every morning and making big, starchy dinners: spaghetti and marinara, white bean and kale soup, potatoes and sauerkraut.
Trying to come back to myself.
Morgan reflects onto me everything tender and capable about my nature and I try to absorb what I can of these affirmations while I’m here.
After all this exploration of grief and sorrow, and harrowing persistence of love through trials of transgression, I am left with an intermittent feeling of unfamiliarity.
But I am humbled by this new territory of vulnerability that I charted with my collaborators in Vienna. I am heavy with gratitude for all of it.
EXPORTED: Ellen Ziegler | Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende | Entry #3
Artist Ellen Ziegler shares her last entry with us from her self-imposed residency in Mexico. Enjoy these imaginative moments captured in the light of Mexico. Thanks for letting us get a peek into your trip, Ellen. And welcome back home!
Cotidianidad | Quotidianity
Entry #3, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende – April 2015
My friend Ivan Puig calls these instances “cotidianidad”, and although the word “quotidianity” is only maybe a real word in English, it sums up those daily, ordinary, commonplace moments that illuminate us from inside.
Here are a few of mine from my time in Mexico. Thank you for joining me in my journey.
Shadow of a statue of priest Miguel Hidalgo, the father of Mexico’s revolution against Spanish rule, Dolores Hidalgo.
Dry fountain, San Miguel de Allende.
All electrical meters are covered by grates to prevent theft. No two alike, all hand-made. Here’s one…
A welcome in a small hotel.
Abandoned church, San Miguel de Allende.
Subway, Mexico City.
Sign, San Miguel.
Jell-O to go, Embajadores Market, Guanajuato.
Brass section, Sunday concert, Guanajuato.
Child’s dress worthy of a designer lamp shade.
San Juan de Dios Market, San Miguel de Allende.