Artist Statement: Betty Spackman“Curtain Calls”
Creating with found objects is something I have always done, even as a child. I love the surprise element of material combinations and the creative process of transforming those materials into something new. I enjoy the search for eclectic ‘recyclables’, and the ‘magic’ of juxtaposition. It is also a way of purging my own material life by sharing objects I have collected in my personal journey. In so doing I invite the viewer to see slivers of my personality, to peek into my soul.
As an installation artist I have always been interested in ideas about space, about psychology and architecture such as those in Gaston Bachelard’s book, “The Poetics of Space”. But researching issues of popular culture in my own book, “A Profound Weakness. Christians and Kitsch” also put my attention toward the phenomena of spaces we enter through the imagination such as the gigantic in theme parks, and the worlds of miniatures. Many of these particular pieces utilize the essence of the miniature, which allows the viewer to enter with the imagination as well as the eyes into places that might be fun or foreboding.
My early solo exhibitions in Europe were installations of tents. Temporary housing units continue to be a theme of both my personal and my art life. Curtains, those ‘tent flaps’ of fabric or psychological fabrications that conceal/reveal, protect and divide personal space, started appearing in my drawings and paintings many years ago and I have pulled them out again for this show. Each opening is a tear in a wall, a peek into an interior space, a covering of a secret, an entrance to a story.
Assemblage work has been for me a kind of visual poetry – finding the right object that will work with the one before it, the one after it. The process for Curtain Calls was discovering one-act plays that had different characters and props. For some of these small ‘stage sets’ the play – in both senses of the word - came easily and finding a ‘script’ was a pleasurable game. Others I struggled with. There were divas that wanted to change their lines, stubborn, difficult dialogue with foreign accents, lighting problems and actors who ignored their cues. But I have decided to let them all perform in their awkward honesty and if called upon to even take a bow.