I spent yesterday helping to install “Kitchen Wallpaper,” a piece by Rian Kerrane, which Jessica Gross had already been working on for days. This food-encrusted room is part of “Artists’ Footprints” at RedLine in Denver, a show curated by Viviane LeCourtois. The reference to Charlotte Perkins Gilman‘s story is no accident.The walls are composed of apples, turmeric, stenciled honey, poppyseeds, pasta, and cumin, and it smells delicious. Rian’s off in Ireland setting up our installation at ArtWorks in Letterkenney, so this piece, and the cast iron handbags in Objectophilia, were installed by her loyal local proxies. Yesterday, Mike Brohman, who’s also in the show, came to the rescue, helping out for hours, after watching Jessica and I struggle with layers upon layers of layers that were obviously going to take a lot longer than planned. With his help, we were home by 10 pm. Spectacular July 3rd fireworks awaited me in my neighborhood when I got home. The piece is pretty amazing, yes? Try to resist nibbling on the walls.
A tribute to The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1892
By Rian Kerrane
Turmeric, cumin, honey, apple, poppy seed, pasta
22’ long, 12’ high
Kerrane illustrates her negotiation of the mental realm of self-sustainability with “Kitchen Wallpaper”. Her use of organic materials shown as repetitive wallpaper pattern reflects the domestic environment on numerous levels. The artist often references this setting as the nucleus of intimacy and personal relations. It is the home where she learns to balance her several public and private personas: woman, mother, lover, artist, and academic.
“Kitchen Wallpaper”, with its direct use of edibles, is a reminder of the transient, the minuscule and the simple innovative idea as nourishment and concept. Repetitive wallpaper-like pattern gives form to abstract thought and the challenges and ingenuity required for self-sustaining and balancing life’s situations. For Kerrane the kitchen is the center of the home environment. Finding balance within oneself, in one’s relationships and the larger social circle is synonymous with finding harmony and ecological balance on the global scale. Actions, conversations, mental health and daily practice are the minutia affecting the broader picture and major cycles of the planet. Every single action exponentially has its larger repercussions.
The steep walls and the vertical emphasis in the space are a reminder of the claustrophobia we sometimes feel. The sense of powerlessness and ineffectiveness we experience, the self doubt of our actions as we continuously negotiate the mental realms of the domestic sphere and the relevance of the single action to those on the global front. What can at one moment seem comfortable can at its next enclose as a trap. Kerrane intends to stimulate subtle changes in consciousness with “Kitchen Wallpaper”.
Rian Kerrane, June 2010