Filtering by Category: installation

of the flesh: gestation station

Added on by Jourdan.

An odd pre-existing fascination with all things flesh magnetically drew me to the dolls. Their naked pinkness piled high in the Toynado detritus just begging to be touched, but in the subtlest and most pitiful of ways. Dolls are meant to be played with. They are mini fake humans designed for imaginative interactions. But the dolls I discovered had been hidden away from sight for quite some time. Their dismembered limbs gathering dust in the corner – a morbid mass grave for playthings of the past.

In such a place as Elsewhere, a living museum, a breathing organ of objects always in flux, nothing, no matter how beaten and broken, deserves to be hidden away. My project has been a joint attempt to enliven both the dolls and the place in which I’ve chosen to install them – formerly known as the hotel lobby – an underutilized light-filled area on the 2nd floor at the front of the building. This space will now function as both lounge and creative work area, a space for gestation and growth of all kinds.

One of the many reasons I am so drawn to the flesh as both material and metaphor in my work is because of its regenerative qualities and capabilities. It serves as protector and barrier from outside dangers, as well as our primary sense organ, allowing us to feel and respond to the world around us. In this project, I have endeavored to work and play with the doll parts, the imitation flesh, to enliven it so that it may mimic human flesh not only in form, but also in manner, fostering growth of new projects and ideas.

The dolls have said goodbye to their old lives as objects and playthings. Their individual identities have been dissolved in attempt to further a collective consciousness, a collaborative ascension that is equally weird, hopeful, playful, and macabre. As their parts rearrange and flow in unexpected formations, viewers are encouraged to explore with child-like curiosity and discovery.

getting started - a proposal of sorts

Added on by Jourdan.
This photo was taken for my profile on the Elsewhere website. I couldn't resist this mountain of dolls hidden away in the attic.  

Yesterday I met with the Elsewhere curators to discuss my project proposal... it goes a little something like this...

The dolls are lonely. They’ve been in the dark far too long. I’ve come to rescue them from the toynado (see below) detritus and give their dismembered limbs a reason to live, a way to live. After all, this is a “living” museum, isn’t it? It’s time to bring the fleshy fake mini humans back into our living space. To turn their peachy plastic skin into an organ of interaction and discovery.

In addition to doll limbs, I’d also like to incorporate the truncated arms and legs of the mannequins I’ve seen laying around. Like dolls, mannequins are human stand-ins, but rather than objects of play, they are instruments of display.  

I plan to build an immersive and interactive space/structure out of the doll and mannequin parts that will function as both playground and work station. Who says work and play can’t co-exist? The parts will come together to comprise a fleshy mass, an ambiguous super doll-thing that responds to human touch. Hinges and pulley systems will facilitate motion and interactions, causing parts to wiggle and rise when poked and pulled in just the right places. Seating and a desk-like surface will be integrated into into the design, to encourage playful banter and brainstorming sessions for collaborators of all sorts.

Flesh is the human body’s largest, toughest, most sensitive organ. By it and through it we experience and respond to our surroundings. Using the inanimate doll flesh, I will create a new kind of organ: one that fosters play and the gestation of big wild and crazy ideas, in which nothing is too absurd. Organ and incubator.

For my work, this project is an attempt to integrate my immersive 3-D environments and my 2-D collages. Seeing the doll/mannequin parts as collage elements, I plan to construct a space that might resemble one of my collages, come to life. The viewer is an actor in the real-life collage/construction, pulling, poking, and prodding at odd (yet compelling) orifices and protrusions, evocative of human form. 

Kim Holleman - Toynado - 2007 - 8' x 5' x 10'


Added on by Jourdan.
I'm not entirely sure that it's finished, but it has come to a stopping point. The more time I spend with it, the more stiff it becomes. The life seems to be leaving it, so I've decided to let it be.

cardboard, hot glue, animal hair, and polycrylic

back to work

Added on by Jourdan.

I've spent the past week getting settled into my new studio space. The fire (and subsequent sprinkler downpour) claimed the bulk of my materials, so I've had to start afresh. I'm also no longer allowed to work with oil-based polyurethane, so I'm having to reassess my process a bit. Several of these cardboard pieces survived the chaos, so I decided to work with them for the time being. This installation is in the early stages of its life. There's a lot more I want to add, but it's starting to take shape.


Added on by Jourdan.

Here are some images of my most recent undertaking... a site-based installation for Prologue, our 1st-year MFA show. So far this semester, I've been working on a smaller scale in my studio, so this was a great chance for me to go big!

In my work recently, I've been thinking about the similarities between "home" and flesh. Through the use of these re-purposed materials used in building a house (insulation) as well as turning a house into a home (moving boxes), this installation is an exploration of the barriers created by both home and flesh. The form was built with the following juxtapositions in mind: interior/exterior, comfort/discomfort, and attraction/intimidation.

 October 2011
cardboard, hot glue, fiberglass insulation, and polyurethane

Contemporary Charleston 2011: Under the Radar

Added on by Jourdan.
I am so honored to be included in this incredible exhibition... Please check out the 7 other talented artists featured in the show! I've included some installation shots, so you can get a feel for how the gallery space was broken up between the 8 of us. For more info on each artist, please CLICK HERE to see their profiles from the feature in Charleston Magazine, which is serving as the catalog for the show.

and here are the artists in no particular order...

Melinda Mead

Greg Hart

 DH Cooper

Nina Garner

Conrad Guevara


 Rebecca West Fraser

 Alan W. Jackson

Lauren Frances Moore

The artists will be giving lectures on their work on the following Saturdays at 5 pm...

  • July 2: Rebecca West Fraser and Lauren Frances Moore
  • July 9: Conrad Guevara and Melinda Mead
  • July 16: Greg Hart and Alan W. Jackson
  • July 23: Nina Garner and DH Cooper


Added on by Jourdan.
Last night was the opening reception for Contemporary Charleston 2011: Under the Radar at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park. There was an incredible turnout and I am so honored to be grouped with such a talented bunch of artists! I will post more on the opening and the other artists soon, but for now... I'll show you what I made.

These photos were taken before the opening, and before all the vinyl went up. That big open space to the right of the installation now is filled with my name in large print and my profile from Charleston Magazine.  Stay tuned for more photos!


Added on by Jourdan.
After further examining Felix Schramm's destruction-esque installations (pictured in previous post) I was turned onto Gordon Matta-Clark, often cited as one of Schramm's influences. Matta-Clark was an American architect turned artist best known for the site-specific artworks he made in the 1970s. He is famous for his "building cuts," a series of works in abandoned buildings in which he variously removed sections of floors, ceilings, and walls to create an experience that would alter the perception of the building and its surrounding environment.

For more traditional gallery settings, he would strategically install portions of cut up buildings in the gallery space, which, to me, come across as quite contemporary and particularly appealing, even today. But these types of installations are much more controlled and don't quite realize what Gordon Matta-Clark was trying to accomplish with his work. The fleeting and temporal nature of his most ambitious projects better communicate his "anarchitecture" ideals.

Matta-Clark once said that his work was ‘about making space without building it.’ I like this idea, and I appreciate the way he went about achieving it. Sort of. I guess you could say I have mixed feelings. I want to really like his massive demolitions of derelict buildings. It all really appeals to me aesthetically, but I can't help but wonder what would've become of his work had he not died of cancer at the young age of 35. I feel that, had he been able to continue working, he would've fallen into the same sort of trap as Le Corbusier and the other architects and ideals he so strongly opposed. You can't be a rebel forever. Either you get caught or people end up loving you, which means you're no longer against the norm. Luckily for him, Matta-Clark's career (and life) was as transient as his artworks, and so we can go on praising him for what he did best.

Gordon Matta-Clark has paved the way for artists such as Robert Wilson, who like Matta-Clark is addressing various architectural concerns in his work. The public art piece by Wilson, shown below, has been described as his "most radical intervention into architecture to date."

read more about Gordon Matta-Clark here and here