kara hammond: life under glass

musings on contemporary experience through artistic practice


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Approaching Relocation

Sadly, after four years, I will be leaving the Torpedo Factory Art Center, and my fabulous studio on the Potomac. June 30 will the turnover, when artist Marilynn Spindler will be taking over my half of Studio 306. The illustrious James Dean will be keeping up his half, sharing with her a love of architectural painting.  Please come by and visit, if you’re in Alexandria.

suffragist.jpg

 

 

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“Dredging The Lethe”

“Dredging The Lethe” is a large-scale drawing occupying the public space in the 3rd Floor North of the Torpedo Factory Art Center,  part of the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s “Art in Public Spaces” project.

Wrapped around the interior wall of a smokestack of the former munitions factory, the mural furthers the intent of the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s original initiative to “beat swords into plowshares,” using recycled book-pages, collage, charcoal, gesso and ink to create large-scale drawings of Greek goddesses amid contemporary human events. At twelve feet high and 26 feet in circumference, the mural’s circular composition allows for an unique viewing experience.

 

Mural NWviewMemnosyne submerging the travelers.

 

The upper region of the mural depicts Memnosyne, Titan Goddess of Memory, as she submerges travelers in the river Lethe, to unburden them of their past experiences, with the understanding that they may begin life anew only when their memories are laid to rest.

 

muralSWviewHazmat-suited Historians with the dredge, and visitors telling their stories to the cosmos.

 

Her daughter, Clio, the Muse of History, meanwhile, has persuaded a group of hazmat-suited Historians that they might find the source of all human history by traveling to the Underworld to mine the River Lethe in order to collect the memories of all the dead who have journeyed there throughout time. The Historians must take precautions to avoid the soporific nature of the mythic waters, lest they become forgetful themselves, as they attempt to collect and decipher of all the information which they gather and transmit to the their ethereal data center – known as “The Cloud”.

 

mural south
Clio being carried by the Black Swan, children wading in the forgetful waters.

 

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The satellite beaming the Historians’ information to “The Cloud”.

 

the Cloud
The Cloud, detail

 

Contemporary figures surround the lower half of the column, making various efforts to have their stories included in the historian’s copious recordings, or try to forget their sufferings in the healing waters of forgetfulness.

 

mural north side
Mural view, north side.
North Detail
Detail

 

The mural itself is constructed of hundreds of pages of discarded books glued to rolls of brown paper, attached to the historic structure using a large packing strap. No nails, screws, or adhesives were allowed in the hanging of the drawing.

Here are a few photos of the installation process:

 

Mural in progress1IMG_0209IMG_0211IMG_0214 (1)IMG_0220 (1)IMG_0228 (1)

The Crew – (left to right) Leslie Mounaime, Veronica Barker-Barzel, Brett Johnson, Guy Jones, Jenn Athanas, Kara Hammond, Alex the visiting artist, Daniel Guzman. Photographer: Val Proudkii.

Thanks everyone!

 

 

 

 


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When we were children…

when we were children,framed

19″ x 24″, Ink wash on paper, with typewritten text boxes, 2017.                                       (read clockwise from top left)

“When we were children, we took for granted that we could simply go for a walk in the woods. Long walks… for miles… anyone could go, not just those with membership cards or the fee for admission.

Heaven forbid anyone of us were to strike out on our own, find an original path outside the prescribed framework. You know, turn off the computer and listen to your own thoughts for a while.

There just aren’t that many shared public spaces anymore. Most places have been bought up and developed, controlled by private entities. So many fences and walls everywhere; dead ends and cul-de-sacs.

Not that anyone much notices. Now we enter the world through our damnable little devices, preordained portals of entertainment and information, safe from the elements and biological pathogens, but with hazards all their own.”