PATRICIA SCHNALL GUTIERREZ

About the work..

 

Currently in progress, 2014

 

 

This past summer, through a grant from Tigertail Productions and the gracious help of Jean Clude and Laura Rouvel, who provided a private residency for me in the south of France, I began my research of the female Troubadours, the Trobairitz. I was drawn to this particular group of Medieval women from the 12th and 13th century for a number of reasons but particularly because of a curious amount of freedom they seemed to experience during this predominately misogynistic period in history. The struggle for equality for women repeats itself throughout time but interestingly enough, for myriad of reasons, not in a linear pattern.  I am intrigued how particular circumstances allow this to happen and by the consequences that result from it.  From the years 1170 - 1260, the Trobairitz  produced what is now considered to be the first known non-western secular writing and have influenced literature to this day.   As they produced verses most known for the affections of love, the Trobairitz found a method of fighting for equality through the undertones in their lyrics while they enjoyed a freedom unavailable to the majority of other women throughout Europe during that time.  Although the  available material produced by the Trobairitz is limited, this body of work that I am now producing, will weave together the landscape and societies that surrounded and influenced these women.    

Erased in the Wash, 2013

200' washing machine hose, brass fittings, audio

 

The task of doing laundry is once again referenced, as in previous pieces: “The Package Project” (2010) “2407- The House Inside My Head” (2011, RPM Project) and “Inheritance” (2013), and is yet another catharsis of personal memories. Based on a simple but tragic story about one woman’s bedroom encounter that she tried to forget as she washed the sheets, this piece challenges the common saying “It all comes out in the wash” to the many, not-so-forgotten experiences we can’t seem to let go of. In this case, two hundred feet of washing machine hose, carry sounds of whispers, water and audio abstractions as it cascades from above to a tangled mix below. Sounds and faint whispers invite the viewer to come closer to listen.

Missing,  2012
(300+)  shower curtain pins, plastic garbage bags, plastic baggies, tinted acrylic medium

 

Every year over 2 million female fetuses are aborted simply because they are female, millions more are killed or abandoned as infants. The United Nations estimates that over 200 million girls are now missing from the expected world population. Although these statistics are mainly generated from India and China, this problem is worldwide and escapes no societies. This extreme injustice to the female gender holds its roots within overall discriminations held against adult women in populations everywhere. In this piece, the materials I have chosen express my intent; in this case, plastic garbage bags, as a metaphor for the uterine membrane. The nature and repetition of the delicate translucent bags filled with pink fluid that hang weightlessly, create a contrast of ethereal beauty to what otherwise should be seen as an appalling practice. 


Please become aware.
 

 

Bedtime Stories

2013 - present

 

One-third of our lives,  in either a state of  consciousness  or unconsciousness, are spent in bed. In these works,  through a series of public participatory events and various other multi-media pieces, I bring together the manifestations of our fears, fantasies, joys, sorrows and dreams which take place in our beds.   

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Package Project, 2010 - present
350+, 5” x 8” paper packages, made from tracing paper, beeswax and twine, stacked into columns, mounted on white wooden boxes

 

In “The Package Project" chores familiar to women such as folding laundry, working pastry and wrapping packages, are universal and strike a chord with generations of women. The delicacy of the materials, in this case, tracing paper, beeswax and twine, create a tension between the fragility of the materials and the complexity of the concept they refer to. During the initial stages of the project, groups of women volunteers helped wax, crumple, smooth, fold, tie and knot the packages; many times including personal notes wrapped inside. Since the project’s inception, its process was key to its interpretation. Ultimately, it became evident that the actual making of the packages and the interaction of the public should remain an integral part of the work. Men as well as women were invited, and an interactive performance element was added. As the one on one experience with the public provided a more intimate interaction between artist and participant, the notes became more personal. As the artist recreated a repetitive task, participants were asked to become aware of their thoughts, and to write one down on a small notepaper that in turn, was then tucked inside the package. Each finished package would then join the hundreds of others with no trace of personal identity. This cumulative energy evoked by the hundreds of participants whose touch and thoughts were contributed, remain the driving force that continues to generate this work.

Behind Our Tutus 

2010
Digital Images on linen, acrylic, silk organza
(55) 8” x 6” pieces


How we cover ourselves, whether we choose to conform to society’s norms and stereotypical expectations and/or as a means of individual expression, has an impact on how we are perceived through the eyes of others.  This response to social expectation and individual expression has challenged women throughout history.   The Artist’s intrigue with women’s garments and female identity remains constant in her work. 

 

The ballet tutu becomes the typecast garment in “ Behind Our Tutus”.  The tutu represents women’s social cover, and the contrast of the women shown indicates how universal this issue is for women; we see a mix of artists, secretaries, high school students, mothers, writers, prostitutes, etc., and can more readily question how or why this symbol of ultimate femininity came to exist.  Many of us grew up with this ballerina syndrome and society’s expectations as to how we should be perceived.   The Artist’s interest in the ballet, keeping aside its validation as an art form, questions how women appear in this costume.

Self Portraits With Polka Dots

Domestic Duality Series

2012

Digital Archival Photographs

 

Self Portraits with Polka Dots is one in a series of works taken from self-portraits taken between two rooms; my bedroom and my studio. In the house where I lived and raised my children outside of New York City, the conflicting passions of career and motherhood, reveals itself over time.  Trying to achieve the perfect life of balancing family and career strikes a familiar chord with most women.

 


 “Anne –Marie Was Here...” 2012

This Interactive video installation was inspired by an article in the Atlantic Magazine, written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”.



by RPM Project collaborative

Rhonda Miterani, Patricia Schnall Gutierrez, Marina Font


A stylized (1980’s) dining table with eight chairs and a hanging chandelier is set and prepared for entertaining. Each of (7) chairs is sculpted with material and has a monitor mounted on top with (7) “talking heads” of women who are present at the table.  Each chair takes on the persona of a contemporary woman, playing various roles such as a stay at home “housewife”, a corporate professional, and several others juggling families and careers. The table is adorned with realistic looking decadent cakes and candies. As its host, one of the characters does her best to present the “perfect” brunch.  A center chair left empty, sits across from another where a mirror replaces a monitor, inviting the  viewer to sit, see their reflection and join the conversation.  An iPad replaces her/his place setting where a blog enables the participant to join in the discussion

Through a contemporary interactive video installation, RPM Project literally brings to the table an awareness of what contemporary women, and those that share their lives with them, contend with in their personal and professional lives.

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