past exhibitions

Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil

August 3 - September 28, 2003

Mercil produced—together with a number of 3-dimensional objects—a group of new, large-scaled drawings on wallpaper and plywood panels that use, as source materials, texts and illustrations from early farmer's almanacs. Carpenter's manuals and popular quilt pattern books, and messages transcribed from Shaker "gift" drawing. The spatial relation between individual works on the gallery wall and floor reinforced the conceptual intent of their varied metaphysical allusions, practical advisings and poetic metaphors.

Hamilton exhibited a selection of pinhole photographs from her ongoing series titled "Face to Face." When taking these photographs Hamilton places a tiny camera inside her mouth and uses her lips for the camera shutter. Her mouth thus becomes, in effect, an eye. In this exchange of one sensory organ for another, the orifice of speech becomes a vehicle for sight. The resulting horizontal image exposes the outline of Hamilton's open lips as a shape resembling an eye, wherein the centered photographic subject replaces the pupil.

Their exhibition at the North Dakota Museum of Art was the first to juxtapose and focus upon the individual studio practices of both Hamilton and Mercil. For the upper level of the museum the artists joined together to create a new collaborative work.