My grandmother gave me a sewing basket when I was seven years old. At the ripe age of nine, when my passion for embroidery had faded, the basket eventually settled, forgotten in a distant closet. My mother found it earlier this year. Inside this time capsule, tucked under thimbles and coils of colorful floss, beneath panels of light blue satin onto which nursery rhyme characters had been traced and embroidered, was a folded sheet of loose leaf: a simple drawing of a horse colored in brown and black. Thirty years after I buried him, I brought him back as my muse. Pootail captures the unbridled exhilaration my crayons channeled in 1979. He reminds me that I am the same child, only bigger.
The proposed exhibition will feature art objects anchored and inspired by the spirit of Pootail. A goal with this exhibition is to step out of my comfort zone – photography – and showcase a coherent collection in a variety of artistic media. The proposed pieces are both large-scale (a time-lapse video of me painting a 15-foot pointing finger on the door of my father’s tractor shed) and small-scale (a wooden toybox carved with offset lettering and displayed on a square of St. Augustine). They are highbrow (a 100-pound limestone lozenge sandblasted with prose I wrote) and lowbrow (a latch-hook Pootail pillow). They are three-dimensional (foam-mounted sheets of cardstock from which the forms of airplanes have been cut out) and two-dimensional (a photograph of a toy hare laid in a box of mirrors). There are photographs of sculptures I found (a chunk of concrete painted with the word “the” recovered from a sidewalk demolition in Montrose) and photographs of sculptures I devised (a mobile of pointing fingers). Also, a life-size Butterick model from 1972. And headphones playing a recording of two lawnmowers simultaneously mowing grass, interrupted by the cry of blue jays.
For a piece of art-in-action, I will suspend seven bell-shaped cocktail glasses – each holding a pink plastic mermaid frozen in solid water – from the ceiling by their stems, allowing the ice to melt onto a horizontal mirror until eventually the bell-shaped popsicles slip past the necks of the glasses and fall onto the mirror where the mermaids come to rest in silvery pools of water. An instant camera will be provided so that visitors can snap a photograph of the popsicles to take home. That and a Pootail sticker.