INTERVIEW: GWYNETH LEECH
March 20, 2011
HYPERGRAPHIA: Gwyneth Leech The Cup Drawings
Last week I saw artist Gwyneth Leech and her paper cups installed in an exhibition titled Hypergraphia: The Cup Drawings. They (the artist and the cups) were ensconced in a street-level Fashion Center Window Space at 215 West 38th Street in NYC.
HYPERGRAPHIA is presented by Cheryl McGinnis Projects (Feb 28-April 1, 2011).
The image above is outside Hypergraphia and was taken by Cheryl McGinnis.
See the installation before it closes, and see Gwyneth on site drawing in the window Monday-Friday, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm.
RAISING THE CUPS: The Hypergraphia Exhibition Takes Off is a tale of 2 days of looping, tying and stringing cups together with clear fishing line, of stepping on and off ladders, checking for placement, and returning to readjust cups and lines. Gwyneth says she was looking for an explosive quality.
She gets lots of comments and wrote: Just before it was time for the security gate to come down at 5:30 PM the 2nd day of the installation, I took a last look at the window from the sidewalk, nearly staggering with exhaustion. A man carrying messenger envelopes stopped. “I saw you working on the window all day,” he said. “The way the cups hang at all those different angles is so cool. This window is great. It’s like art, or something.”
She says she dreamed of tangled lines that night.
See FAUX REAL FASHION (March 10, 2011), Gwyneth’s blog with new images and more comments from passers-by.
What makes this show so special is Gwyneth is drawing on site for 5 weeks (sitting in the window) and adds new work each day.
Look at the image above. See cups hanging from fishing line, cups stacked on the floor, and (did you notice?) Gwyneth is sitting in a chair and drawing onto a cup, hardly visible behind all the cups in the air.
INSIDE THE INSTALLATION LOOKING OUT
I knocked on the window, waved hello, and went inside to talk.
Other people were already there, including Cheryl McGinnis, the Director of the Cheryl McGinnis Art Gallery (with an art collector), two ladies from the Czech Republic, a drama student waiting to do an interview, and some others who were leaving as I was coming in.
Gwyneth, her back to the little room and door ajar, was drawing on a new cup, talking with people inside the room behind her, and responding with a wave to people on the street outside if they waved hello or tapped on the window.
I took the picture above. Notice the red-haired boy looking in. Don’t notice the parked truck – I didn’t intent to do an advert for the Company.
I wanted to ask a few questions about the project and the installation.
OUTSIDE and INSIDE THE INSTALLATION
My first question was – Is this performance art?
Gwyneth replied no, it’s not a performance.
She mentioned she had performed years before, but not as an actor with lines at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in 2000. She explained she drew on stage during a performance.
Read the Jack Anderson review (The NY Times, March 17, 2000: SUFFERING AND REBIRTH Dramatized by Flamenco). He wrote: “Dramatic vignettes were juxtaposed with danced outbursts…and Throughout the production, Gwyneth Leech drew portraits of the cast in India ink on sheets of paper attached to the walls.”
WHAT SHE WANTS: BRING THE ART STUDIO TO THE PEOPLE
Gwyneth says: I want to bring an art studio experience to people who participate in my projects. In March 2010, she created STUDIO ON A BED at POOL ART FAIR, held in a hotel in NYC.
At POOL, each artist gets a hotel room, and most exhibitors have the furniture removed. Gwyneth decided to keep the furniture in the room and have the public sit on the bed and draw pictures on the theme of family. She hung the drawings in the bathroom, including the shower stall.
See 150 drawings on 26 pages (most done by children). My favorites drawings are on Page 16: #62, #149, #113 and #136.
In June 2010, Gwyneth created FAMILY TREE at the FIGMENT FESTIVAL on Governor’s Island (NY).
She created an art picnic around the foot of a big oak tree. People drew family pictures and she pinned the pictures around the tree trunk to create a new FAMILY TREE.
The image above is Cup of the Day #77, India ink on upcycled paper coffee cup. It was drawn while Gwyneth was sitting in the window at Hypergraphia on March 11, 2011. See more images at LIFE IN THE WINDOW 2: Hiding in Plain Sight.
Helen M. responded to an early post at my blog Art of Collage titled How Are the Best Blogs Like a Great Collage? Answer: The best blogs are good looking, engaging, multi-media, explore new ideas, and like the best art, invite you to share the experience.
That’s Gwyneth’s Full Brew.
I included an image of a Cup of the Day and wrote: I like the look and content of Gwyneth’s blog because she documents the intersection of art-making and art-seeing. She writes about daily life in New York City, including where to get great coffee (or tea), writes about her family history, and shows us drawings she makes daily on cardboard coffee cups. How cool is that?
Helen’s only comment was: Where can I purchase a cup?
For more information and to purchase a cup, contact the Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, located at 555 Eight Avenue, Suite 710, NY, NY (212 594 4066). During off-site public art installations, the gallery hours will vary. Call to confirm hours.
I welcome your comments and thank you for reading the blog.