PROXIMITY: so close, and yet, so far | Week 11 of 12

Saturday, April 3, 2021


Barb Drake
Jennifer Ireland
Michelle Murphy
Nicole Wolf
Nurgul Rodriguez
Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett


Evoking the comedic anxieties of navigating interpersonal space during a deadly global pandemic, PROXIMITY drew from The Future of Touch (a conversation we hosted for artists working in the social sphere during early months of COVID-19).

Sound installation playing The Future of Touch

Artists are invited to touch on the risk of intimacy, the difficulty of traversing public places, the dangerous desire for closeness, the unconscious impulse to pull away, the alienating impact of the coronavirus on marginalized communities, the stifling safety of domestic space, the consequences of affection, the renewed need for consent, and so on. Drawing from the absurd overnight inversion of actions which were once “kind” or “hospitable” becoming “thoughtless” or “sinister,” this theme invites artists to explore the funny frustrated feelings that are so close, and yet, so far.

Jennifer Ireland shared a series of works, all relating to ideas around PROXIMITY. Her pieces included including gloves made from Amazon packaging (an early exploration of distance + protection + insulation/isolation + pandemic winter), a series of take-away poetry fragments, works made from fabric and screen, and a piece in progress playfully documenting the symbol for “stand here” (common in a world of social distancing).

Nurgul Rodriguez shared a crackling text piece reading “Diasporic” with a porcelain lost mitten, and the casting of her neck and shoulders, painted blue to match her emotions at the time the piece was crafted. These artworks were shared while the artists was away on Residency, creating a secondary testament to art experienced and shared across distance.

Caitlind Brown shared an installation of objects belonging to her one remaining grandparent, Rosina Skulsky. Titled “Infinite Time”, the piece is an expression of longing, of missing her 96 year old matriarch – one of many seniors isolated within the strict system of protections intended to keep old people’s bodie safe during this global pandemic, while often neglecting their spirits.

Nicole Wolf chromatically and texturally reconfigured a found pelvic bone. The piece was suspended above a video of the artist slowly and methodically touching the work – at once a teasing and satisfying experience for the viewer.

Barb Drake installed a carefully sewn tapestry of found wrappers, meticulous saved and pieced together. In the context of PROXIMITY, the artwork asks: how do we understand our proximity to manufactured objects? To excess? To waste? By sewing them together, the artist elevates the significance of things we normally discard.

Michelle Murphy shared their work, “Spread Out, Tuck and Roll” – a remote submission from Chicago. The video piece, installed in an improvised window-frame picture box, documents their unsanctioned performance rolling for hours through White Sands National Park and Missile Range, clutching a tumbleweed. Speaking to land use and abuse, these unsanctioned performances were witnessed by tourists, park rangers, and the artist’s camera.

Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett made a comedy out of socially distanced dining – the ideal meal for PROXIMITY.  This performative three course lunch elapsed in stints over several hours, and included spaghetti, salad, and ice cream cake for dessert – all eaten with 6-ft forks.

Photos by Nicole Wolf, Logan Lape, and Rachael Brown.

Thank you to all the artists and participants for gauging their own proximity and participating in the second last Hibernation Project of 2021!

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