Please Join us
Sept. 23, 2019
for the opening of
The Astronaut 1996
September 23 - November 3, 2019
Katy Schimert’s alchemical abstract narrative The Astronaut 1996 a short 16mm black and white film with color inserts follows two characters, Dracula and The Astronaut (exhibited here as a digital projection on a repeating loop). Both young men mysteriously roam the frozen surface of Lake Erie, which in its ice-laden state resembles the barren surface of the moon or an unknown planet. The Astronaut partakes in a somnambulist walkabout eventually crossing paths with Dracula, meeting in space but not in time. The film functions as both a drawing and a sculptural container engaged within a landscape, a bricolage of fluids, of ice and blood, the two men are led by her gaze, the artist, director, their lover Katy Schimert.
Three framed letters typed from Katy to Dracula, Mr. Armstrong and a Drowned Man, adorn the opposite wall of the gallery across from the projected film. Intimate whispers of their epic romance, the letters mediate the visual performative elements of the film, and the language of her interior narrative. Captured in an ephemeral glimpse, allowing us to read her love letters, we the viewers indulge.
Hidden from primary view in the gallery's nook space and pinned to the wall are a series of drawings that function as map keys, diagraming and comparing elements of the film and love letters, charting her various narrative motifs. The evolving love triangle collapses into a red velvet birthday cake, cycles of the moon apparent, meanwhile Dracula pursues his bloody fluids. An additional series of gestural figurative works on paper complete the installation, these whimsical painted emulations expand Katy’s folly and submersion into the transmutation and entropy of her landscape.
The moon landing, Ophelia, the death drive of the prodigal son, swirl with the longing of an artist’s desire to carve out her voice, to create new vocabularies in the making of; The Astronaut 1996. Her explicit use of narrative becomes a tool, a window into the actual proposal of art making. Her film, the letters, and works on paper chart a love story, one seeped in the imagination of a young female artist and her projected muses.
Black Ball Projects is pleased to offer a view into this early and rarely seen body of work by Katy Schimert.
“I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.” ― Bram Stoker, Dracula
-Press Release written by Jen DeNike
Katy Schimert received her BA from the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) in 1985 and her MFA in Sculpture from Yale University in 1989. Schimert has been the focus of solo exhibitions at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst (2014), David Zwirner, New York (2006), The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (1999) and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (1997). Her work has been included in significant group exhibitions at BAM Brooklyn Academy of Art (2010), Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2007), Aspen Art Museum (2007), the 1997 Whitney Biennial and the 1996 Sao Paulo Biennial. She is Associate Professor and Department Head of Ceramics at Rhode Island School of Design.