Saturday, October 17, 2009
PDX Art: Gary Wiseman interview about his show at Appendix project space & more
Hi Gary thanks for the interview
What is you back round and your inspiration in Art?
I started drawing when I was three.
Who or what motivated you to become and artist?
You did a piece awhile ago called "A CONVERSATION PIECE".
What does conversation include for you?
That piece was for the 2007 Reed Arts Week. I was thinking about the camera focusing exclusively on my face while I engaged in intimate conversations with people I didn't know very well but wanted to be friends with.
I let the subject lead the conversation so the piece didn't really have anything to do with my thoughts about conversation. The subject led the conversation and talked about whatever was on their mind. The improvisational collaborative process of casual conversation is compelling to me. Nobody knows what is going to happen. People are so unpredictable.
We see endless scripted conversations on the screen. A lot of energy is expended attempting to make these conversations look like real life. "Why not just record real life?" I thought to myself, "it is far more interesting than what I could make up by myself". This collaborative attitude has informed much of my practice.
I was also wondering what happens when the camera focuses exclusively on the listener rather than cutting back and forth between speakers which is what usually happens. We focus on the linearity of the conversation.
What developed in the piece was a sense that I was interacting with a disembodied voice that could have been in my imagination. May be I was hearing "Voices". There was no visual information to connect the voice to. It could have been a person speaking but the viewer is forced to collaborate in developing an image for the other speaker based on the limited information available to them. When one watches the video the other voice gains more clarity because there is no visual distraction. Its almost like watching a radio and a TV talk to each other.
You can see it all here
How would you label your work?
What is the importance of Art in your opinion?
I don't know. They say its good for business.
Does it always have to include an audience?
You built an elaborate installation for Manor of Art,
What was it all about and has a piece like this an afterlife?
There are some nice pictures of Palace Of Ashes. online. Sam Adams interviewed me inside of it because you said he should. He made a nice little video about it for his web site sam's video.
The Manor piece is still there actually. I have yet to kill it, if in fact it was alive. It was mostly made up of dead trees, paint, mirrors and dirt. The living part was the people who saw it. I suppose it lives in their memory. May be I will make a memorial for it. Will you come to the funeral?
Palace also lives on my resume. Hopefully it will get me more work.
Currently you are exhibiting at Appendix project Space.
What can you tell us about it?
I spent three days digging rock infested dirt for Inside, Outside. I sweated profusely. I have been enjoying the process of making. The physical WORK it takes to make it. Inside, Outside was certainly a departure for me and builds on what we did with Palace. I have been working almost exclusively with objects, materials and built environments. My origins are in material based work. The last five years have been a rigorous investigation into a participatory performance model of work. It seems I am returning to materials.
I have always been intrigued by relationships - between people, between objects, between people and objects...the list goes on. I did one project a long time ago in Australia called Decadence. It involved digging a grave that I buried a bunch of meat in. I made little sculptures out of the meat. They began to rot so I conducted a funeral for them.
You can see documentation of Inside, Outside on my blog if you are willing to look at other stuff too. I have a lot of work on there. I wish more people would look at it
You also work in tandem with your partner.
Tell us about those dynamics?
My collaborations with Meredith are a natural extension of our partnership. We talk about everything. Some of our most connected moments are when we
are disc using theoretical frameworks and concepts. We have a very balanced relationship. We try to keep it fair. That is why I always acknowledge her as a collaborator even when she doesn't do much of the physical work. Most of the recent work wouldn't have happened without our discussions. We both have our roles. We compliment each other and work as a unit. A team. It is a very privileged position to be in I know. It is something I have always wanted. A life partner I could collaborate with. It keeps me interested. I have a very short attention span and get into trouble when I am not occupied. This is why I pretty much work all the time. I am easily bored. I need someone who understands this and will play with me. That is what art is for me may be. Playing. Imagining. Making stuff up. Experimenting. Seeing what happens.
What are your interest besides Art?
I like my friends.
And what is next for you and how do you decide on a project and its location?
Matthew Stadler is publishing some books made by Portland artists. He is taking them to the Amsterdam Biennial. I made one of the books. I am quite pleased with it. My book is called I Love Urban Outfitters And Urban Outfitters Loves Me. It is comprised of three Urban Outfitters catalogs and one Anthropologie catalog.
I have made some...lets say alterations. Its too bad that not very many people will see it in Portland. I started working on it awhile ago when I found out that the guy who owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People, Richard Hayne made some pretty significant campaign contributions to Rick Santorum. I thought that it was pretty funny and sneaky to take money from young hip liberals and give it to the King of the Neo-Cons.
Its like reverse Robin Hood or something. I also wanted to think about how I am simultaneously attracted to, flabbergasted and repulsed by the content of those publications.
The locations of projects are chosen in two ways:
1. I am invited to do something somewhere. An example of this is the materials based installation work which is generally more of a response to a given environment, such as the Appendix Space piece. I love to be presented with a framework of problems and limitations. I feel these two are the best friends of my creative process. Therefore, I get really excited when someone approaches me about a project and says, "do something here and don't use nails and you have to use this pile of cow shit and it has to be done in three days on one foot".
2. I am from Portland. Many of my recent projects are about growing up here, leaving for Australia, coming back 9 years later and the changes I have encountered since returning. The locations for the performance work are intentionally geographically placed and specific to my narrative experience in this curious place that is Portland.
This was the case with work like Tea Project (Esp. the TBA series), SIXSIXSIX (With the Cooley Gallery) and Coffee Break (at MP5).