made during lockdown, 2020

 

During this incredibly odd and terrifying and decadent time at home, my making revolved around questions of storytelling versus narrative-setting. In this space I know so well, my apartment, how can I lead the viewer without pushing the viewer along pathways I have traced with my eyes hundreds of times? How can the personal become the universal, while still feeling overwhelmingly intimate?

 

As I’ve paced these rooms, and spent weeks folding and arranging paper, my daily gestures have begun to mix in my mind (both waking and sleeping). Dreams of frying paper cranes for dinner, or foraging for spirals in the sink full of springs at night; there is an intermingling of daily urges and instincts in these routines. As I smell my neighbor’s dinner through the vents, and feel each breeze through my window unit, I also question how safe this self-isolation is. And how do we track the invisible?

This time making at home has brought answers to my curiosity of the ‘intimate object’, by forcing my documentation to create both an intimacy and an anonymity within my home. There is intimacy in connection; scale is simply a tool that feels natural.

Perhaps the most important cross over from studio-to-home is my steady investigation of multiplicity, accumulation, and gestures, and the way a vast group of small, similar objects can be perceived as both an entity and a crowd. They can skitter, flap, slog, cluster, scatter, flutter, herd, trickle, and mob. 

The duality of entity versus crowd holds my focus. The micro versus the macro, and their mixture. The mixture of dream and life, or an unplottable, unplaceable object, structure, or natural pattern. There is a tension within the overlapping of micro and macro, within the rippling, and the eventual mirroring of patterns as both our conscious and subconscious work, in tandem, to define what is before us. 

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© 2021  Karen Tharp