Ceramic performance artist Teri Frame, our resident this past summer, works with clay, performance, video, and ideas. Really amazing ideas. The best part of my job here at PlatteForum is getting to watch the artists as they work, help them in any way I can, and, with Teri Frame, really get a hands-on (and for this full-body) experience! In fact, we marshaled an amazing army of community volunteers to help in the process of Teri working on her new project and in supporting the ArtLab interns she was working with. But this post is about what it feels like to have a role in her process. The first stop in this adventure was being the model for her demonstration for the ArtLab students in casting wax/plaster molds of their faces. This involves TOTAL trust as the model has four coats of hot wax painted on their face, followed by strips of plaster embedded in the wax. Then the really fun part is removing the mask from the face. Yup. We found out in this demonstration that it takes a large quantity of preventative vaseline over sensitive areas to prevent from harm (like exfoliating eyelashes.) The good news is that they grow back on only a few months. After terrorizing the students with this demonstration, they broke into teams to do the same with and for each other. Again, TOTAL trust.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, I was asked to be one of the six or seven models for Teri’s new project: Traveler’s Tales, which will take two or more years to complete. The residency was the first step in developing the work which is totally complex and hard to describe. Best way to understand her work is at our website which talks about her art with examples of video art of completed work. I was joined by Jordan Canjar, an ArtLab alumni from 2006, who got to be the first model in the series. A tall, lanky man, he was transformed into a single breasted woman as Teri and her support team shot test footage of the transformation. He was such a good sport that I thought when my turn came up that I could handle it easily.I got to wear a clay bikini with amazing sculptural head with horns. Not bad at all EXCEPT I had to do it live at the exhibition opening. After three hours of full body makeup I shamelessly paraded around the opening while attempting do quasi yogi hand features as best I could. The gaffer tape did a world of wonder with my décolletage. Needless to say the only way I could do such a thing was that I knew no one could actually see me (my eyes) as i could hardly see them! Even my husband didn’t recognize me. It was quite the experience as only Jordan knows (i.e. removing stage makeup for your body and wearing heavy clay head pieces). For more information about Teri Frame and her work, visit her website.