In a beautifully decaying relic that is the empty 650,000 gallon pool at Peter Strauss Ranch, Kim West is installing a fractured 115 foot mural, a play structure-cum-easel, a color stained ladder, painted fire pits, and light elements. At sunset on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017, the installation will be activated - and permanently altered with shears and flames - in a ONE NIGHT ONLY collaborative and site-specific performance by Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre and experimental sound artist Davy Sumner. The performance is free and open to the public, with RSVP tickets for the performance required. Following the performance, the altered installation will remain on site and open to the public during park hours through September, 2017.
"It all layers.
Waves. Wading. A washing over.
The way an event, a person or people, a conversation, an object, or an experience can each seem indelibly stained, but then time passes and rolls over, and it all changes. Some things jut and crystalize. Some things fade and recede. Some things disappear.
Vast expanses of empty-ness get pin-pricks of bright light, and some of it seeps. Or, a pin-prick explodes, and it blankets. Vignettes emerge. Perspectives shift. Memories and time recreate and collage on top of one another in new, fractured realities.
I think a lot about the way memory and loss intertwine and process, and I make memory paintings about that.
Recently, I have begun to work with capturing physical imprints from the process of making memory paintings in a new series of layer paintings. In these layer paintings, canvas is placed directly on top of canvas, on top of paper, on top of wood - or in some combination there-of. Marks and gestures made on the top layer bleed and soak into whatever is beneath. When an initial memory painting (the top layer) is finished, I peel it back to see what remains. The peeling reveals new work, and the memories of the memory paintings are captured, documented, and preserved.
I think about dissolution – about acceptance, and pain, when a clear memory grows fuzzy. About the importance physical objects assume when the people emotionally connected to the object are no longer tangible.
I kept a half-empty bottle of Tejava iced tea in the way back of the refrigerator for four years after a friend died. With a straw, he'd sipped from it the last time he stayed with us. I surreptitiously and frantically retrieved the bottle every time a well-meaning fridge-cleaner put it in the trash. But I didn't oversee the fridge pack-up in a recent house move. And, what would I have said, anyway? "When you get to the refrigerator, please make sure to bring that random tea bottle in the back, top shelf on the left – the mostly drank one with the cap tightly grimed on."
Memories are sacred souvenirs, and sentimental objects are buoys that triangulate their drift.
As these layer paintings become more and more about what marks, imprints, and stains through, they start to reflect the grasping at ether (for image and meaning) that begins to happen when memories haze around the edges. In the logic of this reflection cycle, it therefore seems inescapable to process that some initial memory painting top layers will cease to physically exist, and instead only show up in the remnants captured from the making of the memory paintings themselves.
It is in this context that the performance element of the LAKE ENCHANTO project will activate the work to bring an inevitable conclusion to selective installation elements. As part of their performance, dancers will address the climbing play structure and peel back the attached layer paintings, revealing the under-works to both me and the audience for the first time. As they peel, pull and tug to remove the top layers, they also cut, rip and tear - thus rendering some work into fragments which will be distributed as such to audience members. Other works will be delivered to the pool's platform fire pits, where dancers will tend flames, and form a ritualistic pyre."
- Kim West, on LAKE ENCHANTO