Kysa Johnson and her new project for Halsey McKay

Here is the first note (of an as yet undetermined number) chronicling the progress of my upcoming installation project for Halsey McKay Gallery, from its messy (and potentially embarrassing) beginnings to its final (and hopefully impressive) end.

Project Diаry

Part I: In the Swamp

This is the beginning when everything is murky and every idea seems really good and then really bad in very quick succession.

Here’s what I know at this point. The gallery is in East Hampton. There is a big picture window in front that people will be able to see into when the gallery is closed. The installation will be up during the quiet (but increasingly less so) winter months so this window is important since the gallery will be closed except for a few big events. Because of this it needs to work as viewed through the window as well  as from within the gallery. It will be an installation. It will be chalk on blackboard and whatever material I end up using to make it 3 dimensional somehow.

Here’s what I don’t know: what the hell to make the work about. Is it political? Historical? Political and historical? Site-specific?  Universal?  A plain old meditation on nature?

I always work with scientific or natural patterns, which I use to illuminate some sort of concept, so there’s that. But what pattern? Diseases (the Andromeda strain, unchecked growth?) Barnacles (to reference the whaling history or the town and the idea of parasitic relationships?) Subatomic Decay Patterns (change, the fleeting nature of the physical, ghosts of the past, visions of the future?)

Here’s what’s in my sketchbook and typed in the “Notes” on my iPhone:

“A Tale of 2 Cities?? Versailles? Imploding Star?”

“Decay, and Wealth? Subatomic?”

“Houses by Percent?”

“A history of the universe in 4 pieces?”

“What about Wyandanch” “Handbags?” “Home Sweet Home?”

“Scrim? Or Slats?”

“How about exploded Houses?”

“Maybe think about trash – Mega Mansions? Barnacles?”

“Soccer and Polo”

So, this is it, the dirty, weird, exciting part where it can go any which way. Stay tuned.

This article ©galleryIntell and Kysa Johnson 2013.