THE DISQUIETING MUSES AGAIN
October 18 – December 9, 2017
If the post-structuralists had ever penned their writings on chestnut beams, their graffiti might have looked much like Melanie Willhide’s The Disquieting Muses Again. A meditation on the construction of identity and desire, Willhide’s photographs of her uncle’s post-and-beam Connecticut mill–first erected in 1869–transform a reality already visibly mediated by language, and not to mention, weather. That there are “no real unaffiliated surfaces,” as Willhide puts it, is as true of the collection of countless paintings within the old mill and the collaged beams that buttress it as it is of the artist’s own images of the space. All objects, we find, are already more than their material substrate.
First a silk ribbon factory, and later an auto parts distribution center and furniture warehouse, the two-story brick mill underwent an unlikely metamorphosis in 2003 into an eccentric uncle’s artist loft and studio. Willhide’s subject bears the inscriptions of its history in the deliberate marks of those who have passed through its doors. If we expect warehouse workers of the 1960s to live up to our rugged stereotypes… more