Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gatherings, Artist Becky Slemmons, Pittsburgh Pa

Prior to this blog post I learned about artist Becky Slemmons' project and I found the concept compelling to say the least. It's good to see this has taken form:

a socially-based, performative art project
September 5, 2010 to present date and on-going

“Gatherings,” an on-going socially-based, performative art project began on September 5, 2010 and continues presently. The project (an assignment the artist gave herself) goes like this: Ms. Slemmons will attend one or more different places of worship in Pittsburgh every week for a year (or however long it takes to reach her goal of 100 visits), choosing temples, churches, synagogues and mosques primarily in neighborhoods without abundant access to art. She has made a white dress, which she wears to every worship visit. In response to each visit (in her own studio between visits), she adds pieces of fabric and/or embroidery to the dress; with the accumulation of experiences, the dress grows and changes in appearance. She creates a page of drawings for each worship experience (during each visit, if possible) and documents gatherings with photographs, off-site video and this blog: . (Look here to find the location of her next visit.) At year's end, she plans to exhibit the work in a yet-to-be-determined Pittsburgh art gallery.

The impetus for “gatherings” is as follows: Creative folk and worship places: in Pittsburgh you can't go a block without running into one or the other. But can it be, that never the twain shall meet? Of course not. And when they do, what form will the search for common ground take, between spiritual ritual and the ritual of art-making? Could an art project based on the cultural tradition of attending services remain non-religious in purpose, while providing arts exposure to Pittsburgh communities that normally do not have access? Raise hope for tolerance? This creative soul says yes.

Through “gatherings,” I wish to question whether the ritual of art-making and the spiritual ritual are not at odds, with hopes that this starting point will prove fertile ground to launch new opportunities for appreciation of, involvement in, and exposure to art. I also wish to raise an awareness of and hope for tolerance.

I am not a specifically religious person (I do not embrace a specific set of beliefs), but I am fascinated with:
• The role that belief plays in society, the need it fulfills for those who partake.
• The similarities in differently-labeled spiritual mythologies.
• The conflict unfortunately perpetuated.
• I am intrigued by people who don't need proof.
• And I am interested in the role that these ideas play in art-making, the common questions that both pursue to answer: In what way do I see the world? How am I to live in it? Who am I within the larger scheme of things?

Contact: Becky Slemmons
410-746-4377 (yes: 410, not 412)

*She's also looking for funding as well (I asked) and a gallery to exhibit the work in at project's end.


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The Pittsburgh Art Blog features selected pittsburgh artists and upcoming exhibits with photos from the artists and galleries. since the major press outlets do not go beyond a directory listing of exhibits, blogs are needed to promote pittsburgh artists and their work. the blog also calls attention to the inferiority complex of pittsburgh art and how it's perpetuated by the major players in town. Started on August 20, 2007.pittsburgh area galleries and art venues are listed at the sister site

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