More Than Minimal
I received a Provost Research Grant from Brandeis University to research the pioneering women artists that were curated by Susan L. Stoops in the 1996 exhibition at the Rose Art Museum, More Than Minimal, Feminism and Abstraction in the 70s. My research includes personal interviews with the artists, curators and historians from this show, drawings exchanged with Mary Miss that steward ideas from her early discreet sculptures, and an evolving chapter in my sculptural practice that contributes to a legacy of feminism.
I’ve focused on work that has developed from an intergenerational dialogue with Mary Miss that I began at the start of my Provost Research Grant. Talking with Miss in her studio inspires me to steward some of the seeds that she planted as a sculptor in the 70s. In a call to redefine public sculpture in the early 80s, Miss asserts, “Give the people the luxury of engagement and not confrontation.” Her focus on engaging the viewer to heighten an awareness of natural resources is essential. We all can relate to engagement as a luxury right now and that our natural resources must also include a change towards equality and racial justice- a call that we hear in our streets right now.
Miss’ early sculptures (one of which is in the collection of The Rose) have inspired me to get out of the studio and work directly on site. I have been focused on one sculpture in particular, Portable Window, that Miss made in 1968. My adaptations create a family tree of sculptures reimagined from her original. The sculpture is essentially a big wheel, with handles and a rectangle window that frames a view. Miss prioritized an unscripted experience for artist and viewer to engage in our surroundings that emphasizes being on site, reframing a view, and collaborating with community. I am guided by Miss’ words: “Priorities: Breathing space, human scale, and first hand experience.” Sculpture has the ability to give back and empower these fundamental rights.