I have now been doing hollowware - hammering 3D forms out of flat sheet metal - for nearly 30 years. It is a very slow process but satisfies my need to do something expressive, which involves both mind and body in a kind of conversation. What has remained constant in my work is an interest in the beauty of ordinary objects, and in the way objects can seem to have a life of their own and to connect us to fragments of our history. I usually conceive of the bottles in relationship to one another: as we are highly social, so are they. Some are explicitly stand-ins for humans, others less so. What is different in this new work is the addition of words to many of the bottles. The relationship of objects and language has always interested me, but the only evidence of this in my work was in the titles.
Recently I have felt the need to bring these two means of communication, the verbal and the visual, together. It
has allowed me the pleasure of reading and rereading the wonderful words of poets and other writers who say much better than I could things which I believe, that use language powerfully to connect our shared experiences and emotions. By placing some of their words into a new context I hope they can be freshly seen. It has also given me the opportunity to collect and display phrases which seem to me to mock real communication, to disconnect rather than to connect us to one another. Of these pieces, “Woman of Unknown Etiology” is closest to my heart, as it gave me a way to externalize my despair at the increasingly depersonalizing world we live in. Some of the wordless pieces are also attempts to depict states of anxiety (“Five Uneasy Pieces”) or the tension between inner and outer reality (“Owed to DM”, “Solitary Confinement in One's Own Skin”).
My hope is to encourage dialogue about these issues.
- Lynn Whitford, September 2014