Above : Installation View of Still Morning

(from Steven)

I am writing this post for Kathleen and Henry.

The limited number of entries we have made over the past couple years is evidence of a whirlwind of activity. Most of which I barely comprehend and feel lucky to have endured with my family and sanity intact. In the past three months alone we’ve mounted our largest two person collaboration to date and I had a solo show at the exact same time. Of course, I teach, I care about my students and colleagues, I’m non-tenured, and each day I find myself pulled in directions that are impossible to anticipate. I’m looking forward to the days when the word “no” comes quicker and the art is slower. But for now, it feels like every opportunity must be engaged, and there is a certain high achieved from the tumultuous pace. Music projects take the back burner, and my dreams of a two-person album simmer as I sleep.

Left : Installation View of Still Morning

While making all this work, we built a studio and rebuilt a room to create a second studio, all for the true purpose of giving our new family member a space of his own. It worked. My old studio now rings forth with the smashing sound of a two-year-old on drums. Yes, we gave him drums, and I don’t regret it for a second. Lying awake, we can hear him through the wall, as he explains what sound the cow makes to his friend the stuffed dog, in the early minutes of his day.

Right: Front Room 

I’ve learned a lot over the past three years while planning for this show. Number one, I have almost no control over the way that I make art. Number two, even after forty years, I don’t know myself. It is as if, while I’m making things, that I am always thinking about what I should be making for this or that exhibition or what my artwork lacks, never realizing that all along real live objects are slowly dripping forth from me. Those objects are, to me, plain and clunky, unfinished and afterthought, unrelated and just not good, but ultimately visceral and my own. It was really nice to see those objects interact with Kathleen’s work again. Her objects resting on top of my own gave them a strength that I couldn’t see. Her pieces side by side with mine, each other’s work in the periphery, gave me a place to fit. Our work together makes me realize that I have value and that I should be proud.

Left: Installation View of Still Morning 

Collaboration allows you the ability to like your stuff because it forces you to give up ownership. I recommend that everyone collaborate early and often. Especially if you are having trouble acknowledging the strength of you own work.

(from Kathleen)

And now, after years of collaborative worry, the exhibition has come and gone.

More than anything, we might have finally learned to trust ourselves and the persistent inevitability of our collaborations as an artist couple, despite strong instincts of self-preservation and a tendency to procrastinate. With studios separated only by our dining room, we tracked colors and concepts from one threshold to the other, until finally we entered the gallery, filled the floor with hundreds of works, and spent two days conjuring compositions and meanings that could satisfy us both.

Left: The Lightest Storm 1

Below: The Lightest Storm 1 (detail)

In the end, the printed images, jewelry, and objects that made it on the walls seem to have found completion in small vignettes of clarity and cloudiness. The resulting space allows some mystery of narrative, a quiet to experience the interior storm. Remembrance and foreshadowing shimmer over surfaces, refusing capture in cemented timelines. Here we trade heaviness for lightness, shallow breathing for expanded lungs, and consider again the courage in being.

We want to thank Chris Blackhurst for sharing her space and community with us. The University Gallery and Art Department at Texas A&M Commerce was as warm and welcoming as we could have hoped. And thanks to Brigitte Martin and Crafthaus for sharing this platform for our intermittent storytelling.

Looking forward, the next few projects will keep us facing out into the world rather than in toward our studios. Both Steven and I will be teaching with The University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy this summer - and bringing along our third collaborative partner who will just be turning two.

So wish us luck! And thank you for reading along. 

All our best,

Kathleen and Steven (and Henry)

Right: The Slightness

Right: The Slightness (detail)

Above: 10° Below Trailer House 1 - 3

Above: 10° Below Trailer House 2

Above: Still Morning, Shadow Twins, All These Empty Pages

Above: Blue Grey Skies

Above: Household Words

Above: Gift Horse for Tim and Henry

Above: Gift Horse for Tim and Henry (detail)

Above: Installation View for Still Morning

Above: Kith and Kin

Above: Kith and Kin (detail)

Above: We Carry Volumes

Above: Installation View for Still Morning

Above: Irregular Omen, Uneven Blood Oath

Above: Irregular Omen, Uneven Blood Oath (detail)

Above: Ever, Ever Louder . i - iii

Above: Ever, Ever Louder . iii

Above: The Lightest Storm 1 

Above: The Lightest Storm 2 (detail)

Above: Installation View for Still Morning

Above: Breathe Deep

Above: House Aches and Stomach Knots

Above: House Aches and Stomach Knots (detail)

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