While in quarantine this past spring and summer, Foosaner began to paint large sheets of cardboard on the ground with painterly calligraphic marks. By cutting the sheets into shapes and tacking them up on the wall, the artist noticed that her arrangement seemed to create a playful choreography of animate shapes in her studio. Foosaner will bring both her mixed media collages and this installation to the Pence for a closer look.
The making of "Decameron"
The installation that I call “Decameron” started three weeks into the lockdown although really it started when I was a child. We had no money, so if you wanted something, you didn’t buy it, you made it. My mother was very creative, always coming up with ideas and assignments for us. Cardboard was a favorite material and my sister and I spent many hours folding, cutting, shaping, drawing and painting it. Later, when I was teaching, cardboard became a material I used in some of my drawing classes. It came in large sheets (3’x6’) and could provide students with an inexpensive excursion directly into scale. I didn’t work with it myself because it wasn’t permanent. Recently, having turned 80 and being sequestered, it occurred to me that I wasn’t particularly permanent either, but wanted and needed to work and so I began.
The first assays were with what I had on hand and there were plenty of cardboard sheets in my storage area. I began to paint on them with wide washy lines. The way the material received the paint was gorgeous. After a while and guided by the lines, I began to cut the cardboard. Unexpected shapes announced themselves. Somewhere along the way, I realized that being guided by the lines had become a rule and was holding me back. The rule went out the window and I reentered the world of cardboard with abandon. Abandon is a sometimes guest, always welcome and never subject to invitation. I’d got lucky. The shapes grew wild, then wilder—animate, eccentric—creatures from another world.
I then decided to take this huge pile of shapes I’d made and place them on the wall. The original idea was to fill the wall from floor to ceiling, but once I began tacking them up, I saw that the horizontal movement formed in the initial part of the assembly had a strength and presence of its own. The wall itself, no longer mere surround, had entered the frenzy and a procession declared itself. Shapes moved in a rapid and musical march accompanied by large dollops of comedy. It was a choreography. It was a narrative. They, as well as I, were escaping the Plague.
And thus was born the “Decameron.”
Click here to see her video.
Click here to see a PDF catalogue of the show.
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