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MCLA Gallery 51 : {IN}ANIMATE, Forest Graham, Anna Sacramento

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Gallery 51 presents {IN}ANIMATE an exhibition of works by Santa Fe, New Mexico-based, (soon-to-be Brooklyn, New York-based) artist duo Anna Sacramento and Forest H. Graham.

{IN}ANIMATE  is an investigation of ends, deaths, histories, artifacts and memory.  Graham and Sacramento use a combination of book arts processes, printing processes, textile and sculptural mediums to unearth and examine things once-living; reassembling the trajectories of  present-day relics. 

Graham's screen prints and sculptures use not only the imagery and aesthetic of deceased biological entities and organic systems but that of the institutions and practices that use & present these remains (ie: museums).  His source materials range from dinosaur fossils to horse hair to algae blooms. In a statement about his work, Graham states "This body is to question conventional ideas of sentience, place and decay. It's an attempt at giving new life to things that have transitioned from living to inanimate, a sort of vital alchemy."

In lieu of reanimating concrete physical objects, Sacramento has chosen to revive a semiotic system. She will present a series of works inspired by Fisherman sweater knitting patterns originating from the British Isles:

"...the intention [of the patterns was to be] a readily easy way to identify from where a fisherman came in case he drowned and washed up on shore. The morbidity intertwined with the domestic, loving act of making this protective sweater for a husband, son, or brother fascinated me. What I discovered in the making, however, was also the usefulness of the process to the creator herself. Knitting is laborious, time-consuming, and reflective; the creation of the sweater could also have been a preparation-a shoring up against an all too common end for a very dangerous livelihood."

In addition to this macro-level symbolism, each variation in the patterns (i.e. cables, diamond shapes, moss stitches) represents an element vital to life in these villages. It is her intention to unlock and reveal this rich historical lexicon while infusing her own story into this intricate system.

The couple are in the midst of a transition of their own and will be installing the exhibition in the midst of relocating to their new home in Brooklyn, New York.  They will be stopping off in North Adams to share an accumulation of  four years of work,  none of which has been exhibited before. 

"For us, the transition to New Mexico was a move heavily influenced by literal and metaphorical deaths. The slowness and stillness of the setting gave us the time and quiet to regroup and rebuild. After four years of healthy hibernation and gestation, we're ready for a shift in trajectory and velocity."

{IN}ANIMATE runs through June 20. MCLA Gallery 51 is at 51 Main St. in North Adams and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.