ARTIST STATEMENT : GABRIEL JESIOLOWSKI
What interests me about queerness is its emphasis on experiment, hybridity, failure, vulnerability, and risk. . .
As a writer I learned to gather everything but words. In poetry, the generation of a poetic presence or its inversion, a space of mind, usually unfolds on a piece of paper— a flat, even plane— and while that plane, the page, exists outside of the author, the words arranged on it methodically follow from a private line of thought: mind as shelter, page as ground. My art practice begins with the removal of this ground, the collapse of this shelter: first aid, healing, community-building, scratching surfaces, home improvements, field recordings, and space for solitude.
I am looking for a way to both sustain and destabilize my experiences with gender, landscape, and poetry by creating new environments for exchange, alternative economies, and sites for performance and engaged resistance. I deliberately work with a wide range of techniques and mediums in order to make room for new strategies to arise.
It is integral to my work to blur the boundaries between domestic and public, play and work, and to emphasize the possibility for the spectator to be an integral part of the work. I am interested in using a studio as a gallery, a gallery as a studio and the landscape as both, and in most cases, creating a space for public transaction. In a 2009 work “a public scattering of private fears,” I left self-addressed postcards with an attached stick of chalk and a vine of charcoal with the instructions: “Take the chalk/charcoal, find a public place within the city and write a list of your fears. This place could be a wall, a sidewalk, anywhere accessible to anyone. Then write on the postcard a detailed description of the location. Please be as precise as you can. Then put this postcard in a mailbox.” When I received the postcards I did my best to locate the writing and photograph it before it vanished. Sometimes I could not identify the writing but I photographed whatever remained.
My work is a process-based practice and is often unresolved, more curious than knowing. In most cases, I use my attempts to develop new techniques and to keep my curiosity intact and humane. I reject conculsions in favor of re-purposing and recalibrating. To me, art is not only what you make, but also what you do and how you do it— not a thing, but a way of doing things.
In a recent series I focused on the form of the A-line shirt, commonly referred to as a "wife-beater," after I noticed my lover wearing one while they worked in the garden. By staining, saturating, burning, stretching, and braiding this shirt into a whip, cutting open another shirt into signaling flags, I attempted to appropriate the latent violence of the garment and turn it into a utilitarian object. In another work, I used one of my old chest binders to construct a further armoring which became more explicitly dangerous both for the wearer and the viewer, as rusted u-nails peppered it.
The materials I use are reclaimed, often locally harvested or foraged from land and the street. I keep track of what I am using, consuming and desiring and where those acts begin to converge to make meaning. I often reclaim parts of a previous work to make another. In this way, every piece is a transition between the previous and the subsequent one. These methods are paths—interlaced, agitated and supportive; techniques toward work about inventory, possession and sampling. In this way, my work is an expression of androgynous space within the conventional notions of gendered landscape. And, of course, with any landscape comes the forces of decay, disruption (political and geological); after all we all live by geological narcosis- a wildflower at the base of a volcano.
What I am working toward, whether it is through curating a show of photographs in a greenhouse (Some Quiet Advice) or publicly dissolving my letters in transparent bags along the railing of a footpath (Dilutions), or making herbal teas for strangers in a gallery (Torn Map House), is a potential language of relational aesthetics that emphasizes and explores collaboration, generosity, and ideas of revision in order to imagine new or transitioning places and occasions for viewing, interaction and exchange.
Finally, my largest project in progress is collaborative. The Institute for Emergent Ecologies is a not for profit center for counter-disciplinary studies, a design and social/environmental justice laboratory and the site for a number of collaborative residency programs. IEE is currently in the foundation stage, in the process of acquiring 501c3 certification and is actively seeking collaborators in addition to a permanent site. We are interested in serving as both an individual and collaborative residency opportunity: healing, affirmative, non-hierarchical, non-competitive, with affinity for queerness, destabilizing monoliths, failure, hybridity, intersectional feminism, restless observation. We hope to offer a critical, experimental and experiential land-based opportunity for edgeless projects in design, ecology, art, social justice, and poetics. We will move beyond the margins of discipline-based research and work toward producing comparative perspectives on a range of cultural and historical discourses and practices: literary, aesthetic, spiritual, political, and material.