Site-Specific Installation Curated by Monica Banks

Fiber Art by Laurie Lambrecht, Porcelain by Monica Banks

Sara Nightingale Gallery, Sag Harbor NY, June 1-14, 2020

Living in isolation during the Covid 19 pandemic kept reminding me of Meret Oppenheim’s “Object” (fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon). Not being able to use objects for their purported function evokes our surreal existence, when we are not able to sit down to tea with anyone. I created this series of hopeless teacups, spoons, and baked goods to reflect our sequestered malaise. The handles of the cups are shaped like ears to reflect the loneliness of our enforced silence; the cups have jagged or sunken edges or are just solid porcelain blocks, preventing us from drinking; the spoons are otherwise engaged, containing eyes, or tongues, or flower petals. Cupcakes are deflated and piled on a plate or thrown on the floor or against walls in frustration. The layer cake is spilling its own guts, which contains flowers, butterflies, used chewing gum and another tongue.

Laurie Lambrecht and I had been planning to collaborate on an exhibit since the fall, and our inability to do so has been one of the unforeseeable consequences of the pandemic. Due to the necessity of social distancing, she delivered bags of works she had created for our collaboration, and trusted me to install them in the gallery. We had in mind the incongruity of frosted cupcakes on mohair knitting, strands of loose yarn connecting disparate objects, and the contradiction of cold stones wearing handmade sweaters and nestled among ceramic baked goods.

But during the installation, the Black Lives Matter movement resurfaced. Our world is now busy recreating itself, and art is a proven way to feel, honor, and evoke this seismic change. This piece started out as “Covid Tea Time,” but this is no longer simply a disrupted tea time, it’s a tectonic shift in the way we relate to each other.