Mariah Tate Klemens: Centrum Emerging Artist

Mariah Tate Klemens is one of the inaugral artists selected as part of Centrum’s new Emerging Artist Residency Program.

06_.KlemensAlong with the other awardees, Klemens is in-residence at Fort Worden in October 2014, exploring a search for identity and place-whether challenging gender status, understanding issues of personal identity specific to culture or religious values, or challenging traditional power structures.

Mariah Tate Klemens’ work exists within an empty, dense space – simultaneously between the absence and the presence of corporeal existence. The works on this site allude to mortality, love and loss. They visually describe intimate relationships with those nearest and closest to her… living, remembered or lost. She creates work in order to better understand the evanescence of existence. The works strive to hold onto a moment, imbuing a sense of time and space with an ineffable quality that shifts between pleasure in closeness, ache in loss, ecstasy in physicality and, most profoundly, the illogical process of self-destruction.

Recent Solo Exhibitions

  • How Can We Cheer Up or the Laugh? Addison on Fourth, Seattle WA – May 2014
  • Possibly, But Not Certainly, ESARQ Guadalajara, JAL, MX – December 2013
  • What If I was Empty, Make.Shift, Bellingham, WA – June 2013
  • Voyeuristic Containment, Overgrowth, Bellingham WA – July 2012

During her Centrum Emerging Artist Residency, Klemens will create three installations describing the materiality of her own body and its inevitable decay. These works will refer to a type of containment within a form: a bubble, gelatin blocks, and a sugar cube. Fragile and effervescent, a soap bubble with be produced every thirteen minutes, drifting from a hidden location inside the gallery space.

Constructing a mechanism to emit bubbles from a false wall will be the simplest solution to be able to produce the intended effect. Klemens wants to reconnect the viewer with a sense of wonder and disappointment as the bubble fades, or pops quickly. As with human decay, what particles exist inside the bubble will return to the space around them as their container degrades. Separately, blocks of gelatin equal in weight to her own body will be molded from silicone cubes. Displayed side by side, the cubes will reference her own consumption. Klemens will encourage viewers to eat this form. The resulting abject saliva upon the green glow of the gelatin may refer to digestion, or perhaps directly to their own decomposition while the masticating participants engage with the work.

The third installation will be constructed from a traditional sugar sculpture recipe, with polyester resin for structural support. This piece will not be ingested like the gelatin work. Instead, Klemens will create a large hollow rectangle to be displayed more permanently — again, measured to match my body weight. By creating this work in the form of a rectangle, she is referencing a previous work where she dug an abstraction of her own grave. The sugar will refer to her bones, simplifying her form and simultaneously producing a permanent copy of her body.

These works will emit an emotional conceptualism that connects and transcends my other works. Highlighting my corporeal qualities, referencing each human’s ultimate end, I seek to punctuate objects found in everyday life with weighty connotations. The bursting of the solitary bubble, the deterioration of the gelatin, and the finality of the sugar will expose the inevitable nothingness. The absoluteness of our end remains an incomprehensible vastness, a boundless expanse growing ever closer.

Klemens and her fellow Residents will exhibit work at Port Townsend’s Gallery Walk in November at The Cotton Building in downtown Port Townsend. The Gallery Walk occurs from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 1, 2014.

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