Portland, Oregan artist Hilary Pfeifer is terrific at marketing her work. It paid off with a solo exhibit at the Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, which opens March 12.
The exhibit, ‘s Warm, features nearly 2,000 of her wall-mounted sculptures. She writes an eloquent statement and reason for using that title (I had to look up the word “elide”!–I learned something):
Every year the Lovebugs swarm. It’s their mating process–traveling in a giant mass of writhing pheromones. In recent decades, as their native habitat in the forests has been depleted, the Lovebugs have migrated toward the roadways to act out their seasonal ritual. They are drawn to the scent of automobile exhaust fumes, which chemically replicates the odor produced by the female insect to attract their male counterparts and alert them of their fertility. Quite often, individuals in a swarm are randomly looping, spiraling, or corkscrewing around in a dizzying search for their mates, rather than following a linear flightplan.
People swarm too. In bars, parks, highways, gyms, malls. We often gather together and watch each other, observing our mating rites which include clothing, gesture, demeanor. We flirt, looking into each other’s eyes for the kinesthetic cues that it’s okay to do so. And for the cues that we should keep on going. Or the cues that it’s time to stop. We use electronic aids as well–cell phones, the internet, text messages–all of which often bring our swarming and mating routines further into the public domain.
Language is a big part of courtship, and it is from this place that I chose the title for this installation. When George Gershwin wrote `s Wonderful, he was taking note of the way that humans often elide the spoken word, letting some parts drop away and others merge. When we are speaking affectionately to lovers, our language is softer and more melodic than usual. Words loop from thought to thought, much like the lofty flight pattern of a giddy bug.
What I most want you to see is her photo journal of the exhibit, especially the box she put together for her proposal. [Update: Be sure to read Hilary's comments below with regard to her submission.] About it, she wrote:
I believe in being professional and trying to stand out whenever I can in my presentations. I wanted them to be excited about the show too. So I went over the top and put that box together to have a nice package for them.
The bonus of making that box is that they make an effort to have some things available for the audience to touch, trying to bridge that gap between art and craft a little, make their museum more accessible than most, etc. The box will end up being something the docents will carry around and allow curious people to touch as they look at the bigger installation.
Images: Hilary Pfeifer, from ‘s Warm. (c) The Artist.