Friday, March 19, 2010

INTERVIEW: Stephen Orloske Interviews Emily Wilson at SPA

In this video, Stephen Orloske interviews Emily Wilson at Studio Place Arts. Wilson's exhibit in the Third Floor Gallery (through April 17, 2010) is entitled Springing Through Space. Emily is standing in front of a site-specific piece she created to connect conceptually with Give Us Some Blues, the SPA exhibit in the first floor Main Gallery.

Here's what Stephen had to say about how he came to produce this video interview:

Despite six hundred years of print replacing the orator as creative narrative's common medium, the written arts are still instinctively not visual. Perhaps writers are just too fidgety, the all-encompassing patience needed to elicit the subtle powers of sculpture or painting outside our realm, so when I find myself sharing space with visual artists how can I not ask endless questions?

Such is the torment I inflicted on Emily N Wilson over the past few months as she crafted her current gallery show "Springing Through Space." When our mornings crossed paths she was pelted with such astute interruptions as "what's this?" or a "why's that?" But, eventually, my questions grew incisive and Emily's answers more profound and the relationship, I pray, mutually insightful.

First, I must tell you, Emily's preparatory notes are themselves painstaking constructions. The schematics for each project could fill a slim book with architectural drawings and script that is the antithesis of the chicken scratches that I seem to fill notepads with. So if your first experience with her art is when it's complete and all those colors, pattern and motifs seem cacophonous, know that intention lies behind it all. An intention not only to create a pleasurable intensity, but to draw the eye through different works, to highlight repetitions and follow interwoven threads like a narrative. You can feel a conscious pull to and fro, inward and out again, affecting, unexpectedly, a three dimensional story that flows from the minutia to whole works, series and the entire gallery.

Which brings me to my greatest insight while questioning Emily: her work is conscious of the gallery. She plots out her projects using the dimensions of the space it will hang in. Writers rarely consider where their work is read (but we wish we had that control over you). The only dimension we play in is the claustrophobic universe of inner monologue, so to consider things like stairwells, windows, noise, what work is in the field of view of another, etc... when crafting art seemed superfluous until Emily convinced me otherwise. And you can feel how aware she is of space, because the same intensity that makes a square inch seem like an explosion also bleeds into adjacent works, around corners and to opposite ends of the gallery, such that you begin to feel it in the air you move through, which might not be far fetched considering the amount of color bouncing around. You can't help feeling like you’re flitting, but it’s a delightful experience I recommend you have because it’s enlightening to be privy to Emily’s work, to be ensconced in a conscious network of patterns and hues, permeated by an energized air when most of your day involves the linear march of letters.

See Emily N Wilson’s show “Springing Through Space” on the top floor of Studio Place Arts in Barre before it leaves April 17th.