What's Mine is Mine
RESIDENCY / September - October
EXHIBITION / November
Makeshift is pleased to present What’s Mine is Mine, an exhibition of new works by Beverly Fitzpatrick, the final artist-in-residence in our one-year pilot program. In this wryly-titled collection of collages, sculptures and installations, a characteristic visual style – marked by practical building methods and moody, yet often-humorous surrealism – collides with, as Beverly describes, “this terrifying shit show that is our national election!” Despite what you may expect, the overall tone is more a playful reflection of the record-breaking aversion to each of our elected, two-party candidates. Institutional condemnation has never looked this sparkly.
In a material typically reserved for classrooms and science projects, a large mobile of paper mache bombs titled Of Course, the Bombs Have Names hangs near the gallery entrance. Dramatically lit, these slightly cartoonish depictions float harmlessly from wires, inviting careful investigation of each crafted object and their respective code name. The atomic bombs, ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Little Boy’, were named after characters from the 1941 film, The Maltese Falcon – Beverly appropriates in similar fashion, asking audiences to decipher her code names through cinematic, literary, and other cultural lenses. However harmless, the teetering mobile remains an unsettling symbol of very real anxieties over endless war and self-annihilation. Other threats in What’s Mine is Mine are more subterranean. An arrangement of large white gemstones, constructed with foam core and glitter, adorn a section of gallery floor. Undermining basic materialist expressions, these shimmering sculptures suggest that greed and desire, however unavoidable, need not be unimaginative pursuits. For Beverly, at least, creative acts are more meaningful manifestations.
In Your Money or Your Life, three voting booths allow “citizens” to choose between a pair of strange candidates, aptly named ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. We’re also asked to consider a series of less dire subjects that keep Beverly up at night. Similar to absurd poll questions one might agonize over on a road trip with friends, these ballot issues force you to, once and for all, pick a side – in other words, an exercise in casual tribalism paired nicely with red or white wine. Random and seemingly apolitical examples like these speak to the apparent reductionism in our society and electoral process. In more cinematic terms, Beverly’s exhibition helps remind us that behind every MacGuffin is an actual issue driving the story.
Okay. A river can be a metaphor for time. Upstream is the past & the inhabitants of the past. I am standing in the river and their ideas & their objects are flowing down to me. I can reach into this river & take out what I need. This metaphor has served me in many ways. Especially, perhaps, when I am making art: piecing together collages or constructing 3-dimensionally. All the stuff I collect on a daily basis is put to use: printed materials, passages jotted down from books, bits of lyrics & overheard conversations, natural specimens & man-made debris picked up while walking around, thrift store treasures. I sift through all these piles of things and pay close attention to how they react when put side-by-side. Relying largely on intuition, I arrange and re-arrange the pieces. To me, they are like voices speaking across time & some combinations have a powerful resonance. Then, I make things. And I put the things into the river.
Beverly Fitzpatrick was born in Royal Oak, Michigan, in 1977. She has lived and worked in Kalamazoo since 1998.