Photo documentation from my recent show Urban Biopsy. Also included in the exhibit (but sadly not able to be uploaded onto my blog) is video documentation of me retrieving soil samples from Erie County’s municipal buildings.
2009, solo exhibit
Why are you in living in Buffalo?
Tell me about your family history…
What do you dream of for the future?
Participants at civic locations in and around Buffalo, NY were invited to create quilt squares responding to these prompts. The questions ignited conversations brimming with recollections, opinions, and intimate details. Such personal narratives mirror Western New York’s landscape: drone of political machines, rhythm of jobs found and lost, despair in declining industry, burden of paying high taxes, dismay about a fleeing population. The soil, replacing batting inside the quilt, is a physical manifestation of our communities. Soil was sampled from each of Erie County’s municipal buildings and a portion of each specimen was included in the quilt.
2009, 8’ x 8’, fabric, batting, soil, plastic sheeting, sharpie markers, fabric paint
I simply ask people questions about their lives. It is amazing what people will tell you when you ask; details they disclose to a perfect stranger. I am privileged to listen. Cyst collects, organizes and analyzes this qualitative data. Narratives are transformed, blended, ripped apart and sewn back together. Quilting intertwines a tradition of female domestic labor with sewing skills I learned in childhood from female family members. Filling the quilt with soil signifies its relationship to Western New York because it appropriates land on which people’s lives are constructed and the orbs sewn to the quilt-top mimic Western New York’s bloated political leadership.
2009, thirty-five glass jars, soil samples, letter-press printed labels, metal shelving
Municipalities were determined according to erie.gov and include: Village of Akron, Town of Alden, Village of Alden, Town of Amherst, Village of Angola, Town of Aurora, Village of Blasedell, Town of Boston, Town of Brant, City of Buffalo, Town of Cheektowaga, Town of Clarence, Town of Colden, Town of Concord, Village of Depew, Village of East Aurora, Town of Eden, Town of Elma, Town of Evans, Town of Grand Island, Town of Hamburg, Town of Holland, City of Lackawanna, Town of Lancaster, Village of Lancaster, Town of Marilla, Town of Newstead, Town of Orchard Park, Town of Sardinia, Village of Springville, City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda, Town of Wales, Town of West Seneca, Village of Williamsville.
A People’s History
2009, 10’ x 8’, acrylic paint, charcoal, chalk, pencil, old photographs
Old photographs are posted to a map of Buffalo, NY and text captions accompany some of the photos. Text captions are gleaned from my field notes with project participants. Viewers were invited to record their own stories on the map with pencils and markers provided during the tenure of the exhibition.