Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Party

On June 16th, I had a party to celebrate finishing my Ulysses Glove Project. I am not good at having parties. I like the idea of it, and I want my muses to be Gertrude Stein and maybe Florine Stetheimer. But mostly I am anxious from the second I make it known that I am having a party, right through the following day. 
Still, I thought it would be a good idea to have people around who have supported me and encouraged me, as well as some people who might be able to help me get this project shown. I saved the last six sentences of Ulysses to write at the party. They are beautiful lines, from Molly Bloom. I don't have the book in front of me, but I know the lines include yes I said yes I will yes. As I leaned over my last glove, pen in hand, I was so hot. My face was hot, my hair was hot. I felt like one of those cartoon characters who is sweating from every pore. Out the eyes, the nose, the top of the head. I had such a surge of relief when it was done....as though an infusion of oxygen had been blown into my lungs. 
 I should have said a few words, but I didn't. I mingled and chatted and drank champagne and did not eat any of the food I had paid for. I think I had two strawberries, two crackers, a half an inch of pate, and a piece of broccoli. 
When it was all over I had to get right back in to mommy mode, head downtown to pick up my son from  Pride festivities and deliver him to a party in Johnston. I am always trying to imagine Picasso or Richard Long, Richard Serra, Warhol, or any big time artist having to make mental switches like that. I think I might be able to imagine Roz Chast having to to do it.
This project is about so many things. One day I will write down all the ingredients that make up the Glove Project. I do have an official artist statement, but that is for grants and residencies, for parties and publicity. It does give the general idea, but there is much, much more. One important piece of it has to do with what I see as a mostly female concern with being able to be a shape shifter all the time. When I began this project I wanted to create something epic. But I knew I needed to be able to do it on my own terms, with my limited time and space, my lack of funding or star power. I needed to be able to be in the car pool, to walk my dog, do the wash, clean the house. 
This project is so personal. I need to re-read the book Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood, which I think I read twenty years ago. I seem to remember that the main character was an artist. She had an exhibit when she was past middle age and all the strange parts of her life, the roads not taken, the turns and random choices, the decisions of her parents and family, went into the artist she became. For me, the Gloves are everything I have been doing since childhood. They include being taught handwriting by nuns in parochial school, feeling like I am not skilled enough to draw what I want to draw, not brave enough to make something big. 
Anyway, the party is over. Now I need to get this project out in the world. The next party, for my opening, should be really big. I'll try to eat something. I'll try to relax, and enjoy all of it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What's Next?

This morning I finished all I am going to finish of copying Ulysses on to rubber gloves. I left six sentences for my Bloomsday party, where I will sit and finish the book, then open some champagne!!!
I have an artist statement to explain the bones of this project. But in part it was to show myself, and whoever else cares, that one person can create something very epic without any help. I had no funding, no grant, no residency, no assistants. I took my gloves with me on every vacation, to Florida, to California, many times to N.Y., to the beach hotel in Misquamicut. I didn't miss any school plays or concerts or any of my son's lessons. I watched t.v. and cleaned the house. I did it all with no special space, no special equipment. This is very much a woman's project because I just don't know a man who would worry about the above list. The clean house, the lack of chunks of time, the child's lessons and plays and appointments.
These are the books I listened to while I worked on this project:
If I Stay
My Hollywood
The Sun Also Rises
Secrets to Happiness
The Three Weismans of Westport
The Lakeshore Limited
The Widower's Tale
Heir to the Glimmering World
My Abondonment
The Septembers of Shiraz
Private Life
I'd Know You Anywhere
Strength in What Remains
This Beautiful Life
State of Wonder
The Lost City of Z
A Good and Happy Child
In The Heart of the Canyon
The Starboard Sea

I also listened to the news, too much, watched a lot of Pawn Stars, repeats of movies. Anything I could follow without watching.
Soon, my dealer, Cade Tompkins and I are going to spend a day finding out how many gloves this project took, and talk about the show we will have.  My friend Pam Petro is going to photograph the process so we can document each layer of this crazy project and have some idea of how much space all these gloves will take when shown as I want to show them.
But first, on June 16th, Bloomsday, I am having a party to celebrate the end. My thanks to each and every friend, acquaintance, passer-by, facebook friend and family member who cheered me on along the way. To those colonies who turned me down for a few weeks to work, you just might rue the day. Or, maybe not. I could have used that validation because I had some very low moments. But now that I have done this, I feel like the chubby out of shape person who just finished a marathon. Proud.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The beginning of the end, for real. Page 781.

I am so close to the end of this project, at least as far as copying text on to rubber gloves goes. It has put me in an odd state of mind. I am almost nervous about it, as though the end is more of a challenge then starting it. I could have finished it today if I had wanted to, but I was not ready. I have other things to do and I just want to stick to my routine of about a page a day. Tomorrow I'll do the last full page. Thursday & Friday I think I'll take a break, and Saturday I'll do all but the last few sentences. I'm saving those for my party on June 16th, when I'll write the last bit in front of my friends.
Meanwhile, I heard that tonight there is going to be some sort of astro phenomena. The transit of Venus? The Venus transit? There are lots of postings on facebook about the implications as far as moods and feelings. I am such a tumultuous person anyway...I'm not sure any astrological event could have much of an effect on me that anyone would notice. I am up and down on an hourly basis. I am cranky and then corny with love. I want to do everything but I want to sleep in. As my husband says, I am uptight. The nice thing about this project is that I have had a plan for each and every day. I always write something of Ulysses on to a rubber glove. Soon, I won't have that. It's like studying meditation or yoga or being a runner, and then stopping cold turkey.
I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do next as far as art work. In a way I think I would like to do a series of still life's (or is it still lives?), just small paintings and drawings of things around the house. I feel like I want to do something kind of conventional to cleanse my palette. But, who knows? I don't have to decide for at least a few days more. Maybe Venus will give me a clue.