soft sculptures and single channel video installation
Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, 2006
While on a residency in New Zealand in 2001-2002 living next to a wildlife center, I became fascinated with the kiwi bird. This interest turned into an obsession for odd fowl during my subsequent travels in New Zealand and Australia. There I saw a great deal of penguins in the wild and in captivity. In the wild I videotaped penguins at the Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve, a bizarre “camp” of ex-soldiers on maneuvers to find the penguin “enemy” on the South Island of New Zealand. In less war-like circumstances I filmed little blue penguins near Dunedin and in Milford Sound, also on the south island of NZ. Blue penguins were also filmed in the wild in St. Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia and in captivity at the Melbourne zoo.
For Swell, 10 years later, a video of the penguins I videotaped ‘down under’ will screen for a flock of soft, small, abstract penguin constructions that I made in my studio. These creatures, comprised of materials that evoke penguiness- blues, blacks, whites, yellows, fake furs and other evocative fabrics like old clothes, cottons and wools will be watching the video of their real life counterparts.
Penguins seem to me a wonderful metaphor for a variety of human behaviors. We are all waddling around from here to there but really going nowhere. Creating an installation about the penguin is my opportunity to try to stay sane in the madness of our current political situation, and to bring some levity into a clumsy world. Like the penguins do.