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From the Studio: Joyce Kozloff

Joyce Kozloff Studio.

Over the past few months, DC Moore Gallery has been providing inside views into how our artists continue their practices to create new works of art, while sharing perspectives of their current, everyday lives. We are excited to continue this initiative and welcome your thoughts about these features, as we hope they will bring together our friends, families and colleagues.

From Joyce Kozloff:

I’ve been in New York throughout this crisis season. Everything felt grim, both in my personal life and the world at large. But something has changed, and it’s extraordinary, really. I’m buoyed by the wave of activism among the young, the sea of change that is sweeping our country, the eagerness to deal with endemic racism that has emerged, the daily marches and rallies. The villainous fools running our government are on the wrong side of history - watching them jump ship promises a gothic spectacle.

In my neighborhood, Soho, which has become an upscale shopping mall, artists are painting the boarded windows on those luxury emporia, a parallel activity to marching in the streets.

I’ve been watching it for four weeks, as there are more and more diverse participants, more and more styles of art making, more and more heartfelt and intelligent messages to the public.

The street is beckoning to me, and I can’t stay inside, as every day it changes. Along with many others, I’ve been documenting this very transient phenomenon, bearing witness to the flourishing of new art and hope during the catalytic summer of 2020.

For the last two years, I’ve been working on a project for a new federal courthouse in Greenville, South Carolina, comprised of 17 tile and mosaic panels surrounding a large atrium entrance. My rich and complex subject is the history of textiles and labor in the region. I struggled to present the material I collected in my own visual language. Below are details of quarter scale studies for 9 upper panels, which are Google Earth views of regional cotton mills, overlaid with the weave pattern of a fabric they produced.

The central image, with no overlay, is Chiquola Mill, a poetic ruin. It was the site of the Bloody Thursday massacre on September 6, 1934. During the longest and largest industrial strike in United States history, local militia and police opened fire on picketers. Seven died and thirty were wounded. Those who returned to work had to submit to a gag rule, and the story was suppressed for decades. The brave workers have never been memorialized, and I felt that it was time.

Meanwhile in the studio, I have begun a series of paintings based on Civil War battle maps, something I’ve been thinking about, which feels disturbingly relevant. A map is a drawing. I have to flesh them out to transform them from topographic artifacts to reach the density and physicality of a painting, a challenge that I like.

I thought about my feelings of rage and sorrow over the divisions flaring up in our country. The image of the virus is everywhere in the media, appearing in many artists' work. Hesitantly, I began to insert viruses into these paintings, signifiers of sickness and disruption. The viral eruptions do not indicate the location or size of literal diseases. They are a visual metaphor for an underlying disorder.

There is a parallel between the veins and arteries of the human body and the streams and rivers flowing through landmasses depicted on graphically charted territories. I was afraid that it was too obvious, but I needed to see it, so here they are, tentative so far.

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