Love Letters to the Woodmere Annual

In early June, Suzanne Seesman and Matt Kalasky from The St.Claire conducted a response and writing workshop with the participants of the Tyler Summer Painting and Sculpture Intensives. This workshop took place at the Woodmere Art Museum in Germantown and used the work in the 75th Annual Juried Exhibition as its focus. The workshop culminated by asking participants to write a love letter or break up letter to a specific work in the show. Below are three selections from that exercise:

My Love,

Your surface is a poised one: constructed, opaque. At a glance one might take your surface as all that you are, but as I spend more time with you, your beauty reveals itself. Beneath your surface is a chaos not readily seen; a contradiction to your first noticed forms. Your deeper nature is not one to hide, however, and your true majesty is revealed when this inner chaos ebbs and flows outward to meet your beatific surface. Your chaos melds with your composed self to reveal your splendor. Your inner and outer selves dance as cherubs would in the earthly paradise where the first love was had. Do not change my love, only reveal yourself to those willing to spend the time to look past your surface to see the cosmic dance that is your duality: one of outer chill and inner warmth that is utterly sublime.

Reese Takkunen

Hope Napkin (Untitled (Hope Napkin) by Teresa Cervantes),

When I first encountered you atop that piano I wasn’t quite sure. My first thought being that you were too simple. But, maybe that was because I wanted to be you. Maybe I was jealous of the fact that you weren’t mine. You are quick, used, and warn. Yet you keep me intrigued. It took time, but fuck if I don’t enjoy you. You are small, unnoticed by many… and those that do notice chuckle or scoff. I spent time to see.

I saw the adhesive. I saw the stains. I saw the creases and wear. I got to know the tiny little bug that crept across your surface: the tiny indents of the napkin… hills for her to overcome.

All working as one to become you, who works so well with me. Everyday materials, iconic pieces, simplicity.
You calm me.

Though, I am annoyed with one thing. It’s where you sat. You rest atop a grand piano…. sharing that surface with it with another work of art. You weren’t being true to yourself. Why atop that piano when your title card had a photograph of you sitting alone on the ground in a grimy corner? Why not there?

You don’t need to sit atop of that piano for someone to notice. It doesn’t fit your style. Not that I’m telling you that you need to go sit in a grimy corner. But, you kinda should. Being able to stumble upon you amidst the nothingness and dirt would be a privilege. Getting to know you in that context would make you come across so much less like a pretentious prick and more so as a genuine being.

However, maybe that photo was taken in a phase of your life that I wish I had been a part of.

I ask you to think back to that time… when you were true to you. When you had to be found by your viewers. Maybe you didn’t get as many eyes on you right off the bat. But, the ones that did notice probably spent time to seek out so much more within you.

You don’t need to present yourself for the viewing ease of the patrons. Be a little selfish.

Let me finish with this… Hope, my darling, thank you. To your maker, thank you. You give me joy. But, maybe give the corner another shot. I think you two were meant to be.

Your friend,

Dear “Box”:

Right now you must be sitting nicely in that exhibition space, with warm light shining on you, enjoying the audience. And I am alone here, thinking about you.

You always remind me of the designs of domestic spaces, but yet so different. Out heights are perfect for a couple: I am 5’11 and you are 5’3. The perfect cubic shape of your body speaks for your character. Not to mention the zip ties you have sticking out, adding to the flavor.

Did you know how you only occupy 1/5 of the area of your carpet of space wherever you go? And you always face the up side of your carpet inward. That makes me worried. You should have the courage to occupy the space you need and to show your true self.

It just rained and it is a bit cool. So my nose is runny. People think that I am weeping. But if I ever do weep, you know who I will weep for.

Always yours,
Bingyu Jiang

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