pilgrim, approaching wordlessness
Roswell Artist-in-Residence Exhibition
September 22-November 25, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, September 22, 5:30-7 pm with artist's lecture at 5:30 pm
“Where am I going? The answer is I’m going.” - Clarice Lispector, Agua Viva
Each component of this exhibition is derived from structures and things I’ve had direct contact with while walking. For years I’ve been taking walks through neighborhoods in New York and the many other neighborhoods of artist residencies across the U.S. and abroad. I take snapshots of ubiquitous decorative concrete blocks and windows that make disparate lives seem uniform from the outside. Until now, walking has been an invisible part of my practice, a way to clear my mind and stay present in my body. Here in Roswell, I take daily walks down to the railroad tracks. And in April, I experienced the pilgrimage to Chimayo. I am not a collector, and yet in Roswell I mindlessly reach down and pick up bits of broken, rusted things. I see a color or a shape that resonates with me and I pocket it. Visitors to my studio noticed my growing collection and started adding objects, some recent, some from years ago, from their own walks. The collection has become a collective, the walk a shared communion.
My work has grown alongside readings and thoughts on the act of pilgrimage. In Rebecca Solnit’s book Wanderlust she refers to pilgrimage “…as a liminal state – a state of being between one’s past and future identities and thus outside the established order, in a state of possibility.” I came here to transition from one body of work to another, to lose myself and find myself again. The objects I find are a type of souvenir. Unlike most souvenirs that point backward toward a nostalgic moment in time, these souvenirs point forward toward something still becoming. According to Bill Brown in his essay Thing Theory, an object becomes a thing when it breaks, no longer neatly fitting into a category of functionality. We see the window when it becomes dirty. When a body is sick or hurt there is a stutter in its effortless daily negotiations. It slips into uncharted territory. It exceeds our vocabulary. By remaking and enlarging things I see and find I straddle what Brown calls “…the threshold between the nameable and unnameable, the figurable and unfigurable, the identifiable and unidentifiable…” I am approaching wordlessness.
Shanti Grumbine is a Brooklyn-based visual artist. She has been an artist in residence at the Millay Colony, Ucross, Yaddo, Vermont Studio Center, Saltonstall Foundation, Wave Hill Winter Workspace Residency, Lower East Side Printshop Keyholder Residency, Artist in the Marketplace (AIM), Women’s Studio Workshop and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art. Fellowships and grants include the Santo Foundation Individual Artist Grant, A.I.R Gallery Fellowship and the LABA Fellowship at the 14th Street Y. Select exhibition venues include The Bronx Museum, The Dorsky Gallery, CCA Sante Fe, Magnan-Metz Gallery, Planthouse Gallery, Smack Mellon and IPCNY. Shanti received an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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