THE SECRET BANGS
January 20 - February 9, 2014
The Allison Gallery at Tusculum College, Greeneville, Tennessee
Closing reception February 9, 5 - 7 pm
This group exhibition features new work by Jessica Augier, Ericka Basile, Kelli Bern, Aleta Chandler, Jennifer Culp, Mira Gerard, Liz Layton, Taylor Norris, Marie Porterfield Barry, Amanda J Richardson, and Jaime Santos-Prowse.
About two years ago when I first started inviting artist friends to my apartment once a week to make things and socialize, I didn't consciously plan to form an all female art group. I thought it would be good for us each in our own ways, sure, but I didn't have a master plan. Maybe The Babysitter's Club, Now & Then, and Foxfire seeped into my subconscious more deeply than I originally thought.
What we call ourselves -- Cat Party -- came about by accident a few months after we started consistently meeting up in my living room. I remember sitting on the floor with Jennifer, Liz, and Kelli, joking about how we should give up on trying to make art and just throw cat parties. I liked the way the words "cat" and "party" sounded together. I liked how it related, rather amusingly, to Pussy Riot, the demeanor of felines, and the absurd internet popularity of cats. I liked it for a lot of reasons. Everyone did.
I waited a couple months before vocalizing to the group that I thought we should try to put together a show. I was nervous that no one would be interested. When I spoke up about it, I tried to be casual. That stopped as soon as I saw how very interested everyone was in a group exhibition. We decided on a theme to visually and conceptually unite our very distinct styles and interests. I took control of some logistical aspects mostly because I had the time and I knew someone needed to do that work. But every single person has totally been committed to seeing this exhibition happen. We've discussed and argued and "voted" and returned to previously discussed issues to hash out better solutions. When I have asked anyone in the group to do anything, whether it was to give their opinion or take over a task, each person has enthusiastically and honestly fulfilled that request.
The end result is THE SECRET BANGS. I'm really excited about what we're all doing together. Our work in the show is separate and individualized, but the show itself feels like collaboration. It means so much more to me than anything I could do alone.
What I was consciously hoping to do about two years ago was provide artist friends that I admire with physical and psychic space to be supported, and based on things they have said, I think I managed to do that. It's an honor to do. Really. However, what I did not anticipate was feeling vulnerable and supported at the same time, and how that approaches a kind of trust I haven't experienced before. And it turns out I really need that.
Thank you, Cat Party.