Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Search and Rescue...

So call me crazy, or whiny, or ungrateful, but I've long suspected that for every silver lining, there's a cloud...

On Sunday, the curator of an upcoming craft-centered group exhibit came by the house, to look at my work and see what pieces, if any, he might want for the show.  I'd rummaged through the smaller works strewn around in the basement, and also brought out some smaller glass-centered wall pieces I thought he might like.  It's always a crap shoot, in a way.

Well, the glass things were a yes, as long as I can come up with five of them with dark backgrounds.  But the things that really fascinated this man were the pieces of glass I have, lying about the place, on almost every available flat surface, and/or underneath an available flat surface... He asked if I would be interested in bringing in a bunch of these -- especially the ones that are in metal restraints, or show other kinds of restriction.  He wants to have a big table in the gallery, with these random glass objects on it, either in some kind of orderly display, or just artfully dumped there. 

Well, oddly enough, this kind of works for me, even though I mostly try to put these glass objects into some kind of context -- conjuring up visions of uncompleted medical procedures, or experiments gone wrong.  But the idea of letting these objects speak for themselves, without any additional information, intrigues me.  Because, of course, I often do think these pieces of glass are fascinating in and of themselves.  And often my challenge, in these cases, is to dream up a situation in which the glass will be displayed as prominently as possible, while still fulfilling its role as an actor in a mute drama.

So.  Gathering the single glass pieces will be (relatively) easy.  Packing them for transport to the gallery will be the usual pain in the butt.  I don't think this will be a case where I can get away with wrapping these things in a quilt and then just tossing them into a clothes basket.

But the challenge, I'm discovering, is locating the boxed pieces.  I think I have about twenty of them, and although I've located seven, they all have the lighter backgrounds.  And after searching the basement, attic, the back porch, and the storage space in Newark, I am left to the only other option that, alas, makes any sense (drum roll please): the garage.  Also known as the South Orange Pit of Despair.

The last time these pieces were exhibited was in a show in Idaho, three years ago.  When all the work came back from the gallery, I stowed most of it... in the garage.  (Which, at the time, was at least somewhat less jam-packed with objects with great potential as art materials)  And of course, in the intervening three years, the amount of stuff crammed into that little space has not diminished, at all.  When we had the last basement flood (my mind goes blank, trying to place these things in terms of month or year), I dragged the uncontaminated stuff up the basement stairs, and... put it in the garage.  After the flood was over, I put much of the stuff back into the basement again, only to have to move it once more, back to the garage, when cleaners came in to super-sanitize the basement.  And of course, when we decided that, in order to avoid any more such basement/water adventures, we needed to have a French drain and sump pumps installed, whatever had once again migrated to the basement (did I mention that this is where I do most of my useless artwork?), had gone back to the garage.  Where it has stayed ever since, with the addition of any amount of extra stuff.

And now...  Well, at least the weather seems to have begun to change for the better, since I'm going to have to drag many cubic feet of what, to the untrained eye, will look like garbage, out onto the driveway, in hopes that the missing boxes of artwork are relatively close to the front of the mess behind the mess.

What makes all this extra-specially dreadful -- aside from the sheer physical labor involved, with no certainty of finding what I'm looking for -- is knowing that my next-door neighbor has his house up for sale, and if I didn't already feel like a blight on the neighborhood (and on my life with John too, as a matter of fact), how am I going to make this ugliness look respectable somehow?  I find it mortifying, to consider that my creative life is once again going to cost someone money.

The cloud behind the silver lining.

©    2013          Walter Zimmerman      

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