Strike! Essex Art Center Exhibition- June 15-August 16, 2012
Essex Art Center 56 Island St.,Lawrence,MA
Justin Kirchoff, Liz Nofziger & Linda Price Sneddon, Melissa Shook, Ean White
Exhibition dates: June 15 – August 16, 2012
Opening reception: Friday, June 15 , 5-7 pm
The Essex Art Center is pleased to present Strike!. Three artists and two artists in collaboration were invited to create new work on the occasion of the Centennial Anniversary of the Bread & Roses Strike.
The artists included in the exhibition are: Justin Kirchoff, Liz Nofziger and Linda Price-Sneddon, Melissa Shook, and Ean White. Each artist was invited to make new work for the exhibition.
Summaries from the artists’ statements:
Kodak #6 Cirkut panoramic photo images
The Kodak Cirkut #6 camera was produced in the early 1900's, and used exclusively by professionals. The struggle with this camera is that it is over 100 years old and film for the camera must be custom cut in the darkroom. One additional potential obstacle in using this camera is that it spins on a tripod via a clockwork mechanism that has potential to malfunction. In spite of these obstacles, I am using the Cirkut camera in Lawrence to create panoramic images of: Firefighters, Cardinal Shoe Corporation employees, and Esperanza Academy students. At the heart of the Bread & Roses Strike is the idea of equity, work, class and gender struggle. My initial inquiry will have these ideals, as well as the B&R strike close at hand, but I will search for the strongest threads and pull to see what is revealed.
Linda Price-Sneddon & Liz Nofziger
The Great Lawrence Textile Mill Strike of 1912 stands as a powerful symbol of community and collaboration between diverse immigrant populations that shared no common language. A community united in common cause is the most potent catalyst for positive growth and change. We are inspired by the historical lesson of the Bread and Roses Strike and will channel this spirit to make visual the social fabric of today’s Lawrence and celebrate the city’s agents for positive social change.
We will utilize the social network originated from the Essex Art Center to identify the individuals, organizations and agencies that are engaged in the hard work of building a city geared for the future welfare, development and empowerment of Lawrence youth. Our installation will be a physical embodiment of the social network revealed from our process of exploration and interaction leading up to the gallery exhibition. The physical presence of the installation will continue to evolve and grow from the interaction and contributions of gallery visitors and key network node participants during the course of the exhibition.
We will create a colorful and interactive network structure that describes the city’s network of agents for positive change along with a prescribed system for contributions to this network by gallery visitors. Using a system of circular nodes and relationship lines formed from light, tape, twine and rope, a visual representation of individuals and organizations will emerge. We are also interested in eliciting photographic images of positive experiences, efforts and initiatives from network individuals to become moving image nodes in the network structure.
The visual form of the installation will be expanded by the interactions and engagement of invited network guests at dinners to be held at the Essex Art Center in celebration of the dynamic contributions of these individuals to the betterment of the Lawrence community.
We will hold 3 simple suppers with 12-16 guests each that will take place in the exhibition space at the Essex Art Center. We will invite a cross-section of members of the community, including Esperanza Academy students, mill owners, elected officials, employees of Habitat ReStore, etc., to come together to share food and ideas. A physical and visually compelling trace of each dinner and conversation will be worked into the gallery installation.
Melissa Shook has spent the past year locating and interviewing various people who have insights into the Bread and Roses Strike as a historical event, including how the issues represented by the strike are present in Lawrence today. She has unearthed a rich history of stories which she shares through edited video interviews, ranging from ten minutes in length to over an hour in the case of two seventy year olds talking about growing up in Lawrence - very comprehensive from the Irish and Polish sides of the fence.
Some of the topics of conversation are: influences that are still felt by someone whose parent or grandparent worked in the mills and how that could have influenced a person’s own life; stories passed down by a parent or grandparent who worked in the mills; contemporary banding together of different ethnic groups for a shared purpose; and the way in which wages effect those living in Lawrence now; contemporary experiences of those who are working with present day immigration issues (the existence of a present day safety net, or lack thereof, as it differs from what was available at the time of the strike).
Shook has also created 100 small drawings on paper of immigrant workers from the time of the Bread and Roses Strike, together with text from Bruce Watson’s book, Bread & Roses: Mills, Migrants and the Struggle for the American Dream.
Shook writes: I’m seventy-three. When I began taking photographs of my infant daughter in the mid-60s, I would have never imagined that this obsession would be my way of finding a voice. Nor that I was photographing her because I had lost almost all memory of the years before my mother died when I was twelve. Certainly I never would have believed myself capable of all the documentary work I’ve done since then or that I would ever use the word “artist” to describe myself. It was a privilege to make this work for the Essex Art Center and the 1912 Bread & Roses Centennial Celebration, to have been accompanied by Bruce Watson’s book, “Bread & Roses: Mills, Migrants and the Struggle for the American Dream” and to have interviewed so many interesting people devoted to the city of Lawrence.
RESIDUE will transform the Beland Gallery into an inside-out chordophone, like a guitar that one steps into. Lengths of music wire stretched floor to ceiling will use the entire room as the resonating cavity. The wires will be tuned to excite various resonances of the gallery, but won’t be plucked or bowed. More like a hammer dulcimer, the strings will be struck—not with a hammer, but with transducers which will “hit” the string with audio recordings.
The construction will be vaguely loom-like. Each vibrating string will cross at least one other string in a nod to textile fabrication. As each string will be “struck” with a discrete audio signal, the intersections of the strings will cause interference and create additional sounds not initially put into the strings themselves. Viewers may touch the strings, causing the spatial patterns of interfering sounds to literally move around in the soundscape.
Some examples of the sounds used will range from unprocessed loom sounds, to sounds from the Lawrence History Center's oral history archive, to sounds from other sound libraries such as the International Lung Sound Association's medical archive of children with lung diseases—referencing mill working conditions. Each of these sounds will be filtered first by the string, then by other, competing sounds from adjacent strings. The goal being to create a real-time acoustic cross-synthesis of all these sounds, resulting in a kind of sonic distillation. A sound that, at any given time, may not posses a remnant of the original sources, but could not exist without them. Different sounds will come and go, move from one wire to another and create a sense of pattern and purpose, but pattern that never exactly repeats.
Listening from inside the instrument will be an immersive experience. A fair of amount of the sound will be felt as well as heard, though the overall noise level will not be loud. This sort of work demands long, contemplative reflection from an audience.
I have been thinking about history and, more specifically, progressive historicism as a process of distillation. Literally, as in cycles of evaporation and condensation. Unrest reaches a “boiling point” and is followed by subsequent factoring of its constituents into “solutions.” Progressivism asks—demands—that a solution be found, predicated on the belief that a solution is possible and on a canon of previous solutions upheld as historical quanta. Through this apparatus it is impossible to truly appreciate the circumstance which precipitated
any given boiling point. Each solution contains only a trace of the original conditions which brought it into being which, in turn, may have been comprised solely of previous distillations. Does the arrival at a solution then necessarily destroy the history which brought it into being? If not, what remains?
Justin Kirchoff (Berwick, ME) earned his MFA from MassArt. His work has been included in group exhibitions at: The Center for Fine Art Photography, Colorado; The Vermont Photography Workplace/ Photoplace Gallery; and Center for Maine Contemporary Art; among others. He is the recipient of a LEF Foundation grant and was Addison Gallery of American Art’s Elson Artist in Residence.
Liz Nofziger (Boston, MA) earned her MFA from MassArt. Her work was included in: the Decordova Museum Biennial in 2010; Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia; and in solo shows in Medillin, Colombia, Bonn, Germany, and Chicago, among many others. She is the recipient of a LEF Foundation grant and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist’s Grant in Sculpture/Installation.
Melissa Shook (Boston, MA) had worked included in exhibitions: Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); at Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York, New Paltz; among many other exhibitions across the United States and abroad. Her writing and photographs have been published extensively. She has work in the permanent collection of: Museum of Modern Art in New York; Fotografiska Museet, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Biblioteque Nationale, Paris, France; among others.
Linda Price Sneddon (Salem, MA) has had work included in solo exhibitions at: HallSpace, Boston; Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton; Kidspace @ Mass MoCA, North Adams; among many other solo and group exhibitions. She is the recipient of numerous grants, including: Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist’s Grant in Sculpture/Installation.
Ean White (Boston, MA) has shown his work extensively throughout the United States and in France. He has received grant awards from New England Foundation for the Arts and Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Strike! is funded in part by grants generously award by the following foundations: Rosman Family Fund, Lawrence Cultural Council/Massachusetts Cultural Council, Puffin Foundation.
For additional information about this exhibition or to receive high resolution digital images for publication, please contact Cathy McLaurin email@example.com or at 978-685-2343.
The Chester F. Sidell Gallery and Elizabeth A. Beland Gallery are located on the first floor of Essex Art Center at 56 Island Street, Lawrence, MA.
Gallery hours: M-F 10-6
Beginning July 9 hours are M-Th 10-6
Call for additional evening hours
Closed June 29 – July 8
Essex Art Center
56 Island St.
Lawrence, MA 01840