Whiskey and Rye
February 15, 2013
3841 NE Second Ave. Suite 103. Miami FL 33137
CURATED BY AMALIA CAPUTO
Featuring: Mora Barber, Ángela Bonadies, María Cristina Carbonell, Marina Font, Moira Holohan, Elisabet Mabres, Rhonda Mitrani, Tatiana Parcero, Patricia Schnall-Gutiérrez, Janice Sloane
“Whiskey and Rye” presents works by ten artists, which will hopefully unfold like endless, interweaving stories or bits of their life. The works selected for this one night exhibition will highlight the connection between the ideas of “the fable”, “intoxication” and the “night” under the umbrella of the ephemeral of it all, be it a night, a four hour opening, a fable, or an intoxication itself. Fable in this case, refers to an open fictitious narrative or statement, often a legendary story of supernatural happenings, or maybe a narration intended to enforce a useful truth or fiction. The context of the ephemeral night will encapsulate their private world at its most unique and subtle moment, and the notion of intoxication can permeate as suggested de-variations of reality.
Whiskey and Rye, is a modest but engaging group show that wishes to highlight the work being created by the subjects of their history. The show carries a wide variety of media, as painting, photography, installation, and video.
Q&A's between The Nightclub and artist and curator Amalia Caputo
(These questions were answered via email)
The Nightclub: NC
Amalia Caputo: AC
NC: Would you like to elaborate on the title of the exhibition, Whisky and Rye, in the context of The Nightclub?
AC: Whiskey and Rye are strong alcoholic beverages that all along have been related to strong tough men and many stories within. I deliberately decided to produce an all woman exhibition and connected with the idea of those four or five hours that the one night exhibition was supposed to last, and compared it to any nightclub outing… four hours of probable intoxication where things change. We are not the same from the time we are in till we are out…. it is a time-lapse where things occur under the influence…so I named my show that way, thinking of course, about the toughest people out there, association of ideas… merely speaking.
NC: The show includes works from different artists of different cultures and there is work in numerous media such as photography, video, sculpture and weaving and sewing, some even made specifically for the show. What did you take into consideration in your curatorial selection of the work?
AC: I have been following the work made by these artists from some time ago. Some artists, I have known for more than 20 years and we have developed our careers as artists simultaneously. Others, I have met more recently in Miami, and am delighted to follow what they are working on. I believe it is important to follow the work of fellow artists, and especially if you feel there are connections between theirs and your own work.
I am interested in their very personal approach towards the issues they work separately. As per the show, I worked with the notion of process/ephemeral and each artist related with these ideas as they best thought. Some worked about the idea of process itself, and some showed work in progress, and the whole issue of it being a 4 hour ephemeral show, made us reflect upon the changes that occur from one moment to another in a given period of time. For example, in the video work of Catalan artist Elisabet Mabres, there is an empowerment that occurs in a subtle moment after the woman climbs up clumsily the stairs, she gains the confidence and comes down ready to seduce. In the case of Venezuelan Angela Bonadies, as she recalls, an empty snow globe represents the absence of future in our country, Venezuela. Also, you can read the absence of "landscape" and the notion of "city" which are common themes in her body of work. This snow globe is like an “anti-souvenir” that reflects her own space in its glass surface. Rhonda Mitrani connects with traditions, memory and family, María Cristina Carbonell has related her recent work to the threshold between innocence and adulthood, or Moira Holohan, the video she showed had to do with the repetitive absurd, the action without end, relating to the myth of Sisyphus, etc.… are some examples of the different conceptual and forma strategies I chose from. As a photographer and video artist myself, I am driven to technologies and my natural inclination is to seek after known languages. I feel uncomfortable with painting; for example, it is quite overwhelming for me, so I prefer to stay with languages that are most familiar to me. So, one thing leads to another. My curatorial departure point was about the metaphor for time passing and the ephemeral, given by the very nature of your project, the Nightclub. My ultimate intention was to weave a poetic reflection about time and change, using these works as threads. Specifically, for W &R I was interested in the notion of subtlety, the ephemeral, and time.
NC: Is Whisky and Rye a feminist show? Is art by women artists’ feminist art? Is feminist art women’s art?
I prefer not to speak about feminism, as it is immediately related to the collection of social-political movements and ideologies that have been around since the term was coined around 1830’s. We could have a complete debate of Feminist theory, intending to understand the nature of our gender´s social roles, experiences and inequality, but really, I don´t think it is the case for this show, even if you can sense that there is an obvious statement on my behalf in choosing only women. It is a fact, as Gloria Steinem states that“Women have always been an equal part of the past, we just haven’t been a part of history”. I can relate to this, and yes, I am interested in this other side of history or reappraising another perspective. It seems like an arbitrary decision, but really, what has been arbitrary has been the historical exclusion women artists have suffered throughout time.
In further response to your question, I do believe that feminist art might not necessarily mean its art made by woman, or that not every work made by women is a feminist work. It’s just more or less the same problematic that occurs with the art by or from artists who are from Latin America, or the so-called Latin American art. ¿Are they not just artists? In any case, why must we be a separate category? We’ve seen years and years of all men exhibitions, and no one has ever mentioned that it is an all-male show. The partial recognition and art historical circumstances have ignored the construction all along of a complete history of art. For me, the interesting thing about work made by women –and therefore the reason why I chose an all women exhibition-, is that I personally relate with many of the creative and theoretical issues they deal with, being it identity, gender, the city, self portraiture, etc. I don´t think that the important part of the show is that all the women in it have a vagina in common. I believe that what is important is their own individual process as artists, and that they could share some threads or connections within their works, and that was what I was looking for. And that is for the public to decide. For me the threads were woven. And finally, yes, there are works charged that question gender and sexual stereotypes, but not necessarily it applies to all of the group exhibiting.
I would like to add a quote by Mierle Laderman Ukeles from 1969, "I am an artist. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. (Random order) I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc. Also, (up to now separately) I 'do' Art. Now I will simply do these everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art."
NC: In our phone conversation you mentioned that the show gives an opportunity to women to show their artwork and that gender is never mentioned in the case of an all male show. Do you think the works in Whisky and Rye represent the concept of the feminine?
AC: Any show gives artists in general the opportunity to show their work, but if you wish to concentrate again on the gender issue, yes, we can’t ignore the stats. As Angela Bonadies states “Omissions are not accidental”.
AC: To reply to your second part of the question, I don´t think anything represents anything. It makes me quite sad that suddenly this show (or any all- women show) becomes all about gender, feminism or the feminine, and less about the work. Whether the work is interesting for the public or not, Whiskey and Rye places a moment in the career of each of these artists, and the idea was to work with their individual processes, certain ideas that pertain to the work itself, such as a time frame, the idea of before and after, etc.
NC: As a practicing artist and writer yourself, how did The Nightclub model fulfill your expectations? Is there anything else that you would like to add to this interview?
AC: I think the experience worked very well in two levels: the private experience and the public one. My private experience as a curator was a great one; I updated my knowledge of each artist’s work by having long studio visits and Skype meetings, talks about their artwork, etc. Very nourishing indeed… I also had the opportunity to construct content from another perspective, which is with other peoples work, and it works more in the “big picture” of ideas, rather than myself as an artist producing my own work in the studio according to my single ideas and thoughts.
On the public realm and despite the heavy rain and traffic, I think the turnaround was good. I would have enjoyed some kind of funds for a little publication, a diptych or so. Something that would have remained, despite all the ephemeral.
Thank you very much for inviting me.