January 8 - February 5, 2009
In Richard Wagner’s 1849 essay “The Artwork of the Future,” he presents the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk: the complete work of art. I have always loved this idea of being able to create something sensually encompassing, as Wagner attempted with his own work. The decorative arts, referred to in German as Kunsthandwerk, in some sense have always provided the possibility for the total work of art. The decorative arts are the arts of domestic space and they surround us completely: textiles, wall coverings, carpets, furniture, lighting, vessels of all kinds, and every other thing that covers a wall or ceiling or floor or that we use in everyday life. I like to think of my pieces as Gesamtkunsthandwerks, in which I attempt to combine multiples that reference traditionally decorative objects into sensually encompassing installations. In the decorative arts of the past, as well as contemporary installations, the viewer becomes a participant in, and actually enters in to the work of art. The Jane Hartsook Gallery at Greenwich House reads as a parlor space with its hardwood floors, marble fireplace, and tall windows. It provides a space to explore some of these ideas about the decorative arts, bridging the gap between public exhibition space and domestic space. For my exhibition, I have made a room-sized porcelain chandelier installation, alluding to the history of the space as a parlor and the decorative objects found there, but re-shaping these elements into a contemporary installation that references multiples, materiality, and the body.