Morean Art Center, St. Petersburg FL, January - March 2010
My art is changing from a personal on-wall narrative to installation queries about conditions that influence all people. "Hung Out In the Projects" centers on poverty, a first-hand experience for me. That poverty exists at all within our rich nation is disheartening. That over thirteen percent --- nearly forty million people --- lives below the poverty level is criminal, ranking our country among the highest among industrialized countries.
It is this condition, coupled with my disturbing understanding of a housing project, which drives this installation. The work imparts the sad reality that nothing has changed since I was a young Jewish girl living in Woodhill projects in Cleveland. Projects are today --- as they were years ago --- a microcosm of our poverty, and remain the 900-pound baggage in the room, engendering shame and secrecy, defiance and criminality, and inhibiting sociality. One is trapped in a project culture that turns inward on itself to survive, propagating the very issues from which one hopes to escape. The sound track, created by sound artist Lin Culbertson, reinforces the discordance ranging within the perimeter and beyond.
"Hung Out in the Projects" postulates three distinct, yet connected views. One view is from the scaffold platforms, the second from a broken window; the third, an irony of sorts revealed in the final paragraph. On the scaffold, one rises above what is below, heightening the separation between the haves and the have-nots. It provides an easy escape exit as well, one not available below. Windows symbolize the experience of being a prisoner of the project habitat, of one trapped on the inside looking out, a trap within the trap.
I escaped the projects, not withstanding the memories that empower the narratives of "Hung Out…" Distorted shapes are semaphoric symbols of these memories, and further, test the visual boundary between what we show of ourselves and what we truly are.
Woodhill projects was constructed on the site of a former amusement park, appropriately named Luna Park. It was Cleveland's answer to Coney Island. After contemplating the journey of an amusement park transcending to the wretched realism of a project, I am forced to smile a bitter smile at the realization of how the fantasy of escape pervades the two environments