OPEN STUDIO: ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE
OCT 5 to NOV 9, 2021
ABOUT THE ARTIST / THEA JONES
Thea is a video and textile artist living in Hamilton Ontario with her family. Over the five weeks of her residency with Struts Gallery she will be working from a shared studio space called Threshold in Hamilton. Thea will be focusing on a new body of work that has been waiting for her attention for six years. From 2014-2016 Thea was documenting her experience with breast cancer.
"Now six years and a baby later, I feel I have gained enough distance and perspective to be able to contextualize, present and rework these raw images, videos and writings into the beginning of a new (literal) body (of work)."
If you would like to contact Thea, please e-mail Struts at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will connect you.
These are remnants, pieces. They mark time's leftovers or leftovers from time. They are no longer me or are as much of me as yesterday was a time I existed in but am no longer there.
Shaving my head multiple times after Cancer softens the details of the trauma in illness. Or softens the details of trauma that remain in those braids. This work, these pieces have been waiting for me. Waiting for me to pull them together. But it needed Yesterday's shave with Simone to bring the time span of the work to a close. If I show (or exhibit) this work I will consider shaving again and calling that collection Today, pulling the pieces forward with me while always closing the loop: Cancer, Pandemic, Yesterday and Today.
For now though this work is complete.
Untitled uses an old and familiar trick, that you might have played as a kid, where you wrap your arms around yourself and from the back it looks like someone else is hugging you. Loving you. Kissing you. I wanted to see what it would look like and feel like to watch myself trick myself through the camera lens. Could I still be lured into the trick? And if so, could I experience something beyond the trick as I watch myself be loved, kissed and hugged by me?
I seem to be interested in layering perceptions. In my last update (HAIR) there was an image featuring literal layers of time, marked by my bits and pieces--my remnants. This video, for me, depicts more layers of perception, pointing at something meaningful through trickery and playback.
Note: Untitled is the first in a series of videos I am working on during my residency. This video is a study, the ideas within it are being worked through in real time.
In October 2018 I applied to this residency. One month before that, September 3rd 2018, I had a human being cut out of my body. Therefore, my application and the work I wanted to create was focused on the absurd moments I found myself in as a self-sacrificing parent to a newborn. For the first time I was looking at work that featured kids and parents much differently. Like the gore of birth in Stan Brakhage’s film Window Water Baby Moving (1959), the reminisces of gore and fragility of Rineke Dijkstra 1994 photographs New Mothers, and the complication of identity and body I see in Catherine Opie’s 2004 Self Portrait/Nursing that calls back to her previous work Self Portrait/Cutting and Self Portrait/Pervert. The residue of Opie’s portraits from the 90s can be seen in Self Portrait/Nursing as the scar pervert hangs on her chest above her son as she lovingly nurses.
These works all show the very real internal and external mess that parenthood introduces. The work that I originally proposed was a series of videos of people “shushing” inanimate objects to sleep, I wrote:
An otherwise condescending vocalization from one adult to another. To shush someone,”shhhhh”, would perhaps be to assume misbehaviour of that someone. However, as my partner and I find ourselves dancing around our apartment embracing our infant and shushing (in all pitches, speeds and timbres) we are attempting to accomplish something different: comfort, ease and sweet slumber. This video project will remove the performance of shushing-for-comfort out of its context and place individuals in front of the camera embracing inanimate objects while shushing them to sleep. The performances will include local Sackville volunteers willing to participate in the absurdity of comforting and putting to sleep the unnamed inanimate object.
While I have not been able to execute this project in the way I originally intended the visual, the gesture and the act of shushing and bouncing something for comfort has never left me. After completing the video Untitled I realized that perhaps an inanimate object was completely unnecessary. Perhaps the body is enough.
I WILL SAVE THE WORLD BY MENDING /
Since 2013 I have been pursuing a life-long performance piece titled I will save the world by mending. In this performance I offer a service, people are welcome to bring me their tattered, torn and worn garments (or fabric objects) and I will darn, hem and mend them. This is my attempt to save the world.
This performance is a service, a task, a labour that I offer for free in an attempt to save loved items. Each repair is miniature and literally threads wide.
I will save the world by mending, Nov 2
I will save the world by mending has been performed at:
Struts Gallery, Artist in Residency, Hamilton ON, 2021
Workers Art & Heritage Centre, Art & Social Strata, Hamilton ON, 2018
Sappy Fest , Lost Found Mended, Sackville NB, 2013
Plug-In Institute for Contemporary Art, Winnipeg MB, 2013
University of Windsor, Windsor ON, 2013