Liminal Spaces: Pause and Possibility
Zollar Gallery, Penn State University
What happens when something exists on the verge of collapse? What follows such a space? Is it idle? Another state before a rebuilding, before a new making begins and new meaning is created? What is the consequence of a collapse of meaning, of an object, a person? Within the fragility of transitions exists an infinity of possibilities – of what was, what is and what could be. There is an endless spectrum of options in such moments, but surrounding those options are chance, uncertainty, risk and failure, facing the unknown. I am drawn to the place where the unknown is faced knowingly, when the possibility of failure is kept present through the possibility of an unmaking, a dismantling, a collapse; to the space in-between what something was and what it will be. The objects I create exist in this transitory space and are intended to evoke feelings of consequential occurrence, the understanding of a transitional state.
Through dismantling we make sense, give meaning, understand the purpose and function of that which is taken apart. Dismantling is a means of dealing with that which seems inextricable. I feel an affinity with the process of making Babette Martini describes in her article, “The Body Undone: Fragmentation in Process,” in which she writes, “The principle of making is closely linked to unmaking…one could say that the principle of making is essentially based on an ongoing act of modulation and the act of wounding.” Such a process allows for a call and response type of communication with one’s self, where equal recognition is given to both intuition and conscious reckoning, maintaining a level of uncertainty and risk with the work, yet approaching it knowingly.
As reconfiguring words on a page can convey new meaning and depth to an idea, working with different materials constitutes a vocabulary, a visual language with which I can create meaning that will evoke visceral resonances. The primary materials I work with – clay, resin and wax, when placed with one another are intended to bring into question the stability and meaning of the object through an examination of their inherent physical qualities – whether they are mutable, transient or permanent.
An investigation in the relationships of the materials is an often fraught and obligatory search for meaning and sense, like the search for just the right words that will make a lover stay, an apology accepted, enable forgiveness or acceptance. The materials become words, the objects stories told in attempts of connection through the shared experience of our own fragility. Perhaps there is no end to such a search, no definitively convincing words, no final finished object. But through the process of looking possibility stays present.