FEBRUARY 17, 2017 by dwintern
BY NATALIA BARRIENTOS
Only in Your Way is loaded with the political anguish of today.
On an intensely painted red platform a woman,
who wears the same red and whose boots wear out with every step she takes
walks at her own determined pace
building her path and the path for all
A walk that seems to never end
that goes and returns
but is present because it is a habit
Look beyond the heart shaped bulletproof glass
proof that the words you throw at us can not break me
won’t break me
and is not going to break us now more than ever.
Because it is easy to look from the other side
from the side of comfort and serenity,
from the safe side in which you look at me
while I hope you walk not on the opposite side
but walk beside me.
I continue walking in this constant struggle
I carry with me the weight of our vow
and our rights that you are trying to quickly remove
But there is something you can not keep quiet
you can not ignore
Mr. President can you hear it?
I will repeat it
again and again
until you understand that
I will only be in your way during these next four years of your mandate
I will only do this so you see the distorted ideas you have created about us,
I will only continue strengthening our walk
until you realize that this country
can not be led
Natalia Barrientos is an intern at DiverseWorks for the 2017 spring semester. She’s currently pursuing her BFA at The University of Houston with an emphasis in Photography and Digital Media.
FEBRUARY 3, 2017 by jenn
BY ERIN RIOLA
As the gallery filled with people, a roar of chatter filled the room. Filtering in amongst the voices were footsteps with intention, and a soulful pop voice singing “…I would only be in your way,” on repeat— louder or quieter depending on the female performer’s distance from me. As the crowd sipped their drinks and socialized, or watched the performer, I was struck by the nature of the performance— as viewers, we were voyeurs, looking in on the performer’s act of female labor, or ignoring it. Such is the strength of Kate Gilmore and Heather Rowe’s exhibition Only in Your Way: it highlights a sense of labor and inconvenience for navigating space as a woman, with references to femininity ranging from the bulletproof glass hearts on the floor to Whitney Houston’s voice singing on repeat.
Marching purposefully across the runway, the female performer is clad in a red work-suit with tan work-boots, and a black cap keeping her eyes from being seen. The performer carries an angular, industrial-looking sculpture from which the audio is played for the duration of the performance, marching back and forth across the runway. As the performance goes on for hours, the burden and physical discomfort it brings becomes progressively more and more visible, but she never ceases her task until the hours are up.
The installation itself fills the whole gallery; a bright red walkway snaking around the space hugging the walls, with pavilion structures that the performers pass beneath. The pavilions are made of steel rods supporting white grid structures on top. Various rectangular fragmented frames and mirrors adorn the rods. The fragmented sculptural elements mimic walking through a city; with the verticality and distorted reflections they create being reminiscent of skyscrapers. The frames themselves, however, add an element of domesticity and home to the structures, potentially tying in to feminine stereotypes. However, there are exposed nails coming out from the frames, bringing a sense of danger to the installation. The floor is adorned with various cartoonish hearts that the audience may step on as well, but they are bulletproof— symbolic of fragility and resilience.
For audience members, the piece raises questions about the work women do that often goes unseen. All in all, Only in Your Way brings attention to the tensions and discomforts associated with femininity and women’s labor, through the use of a time-intensive performance by women and a symbolic installation space for the performers to navigate.
Erin Riola is an intern at DiverseWorks for the 2017 spring semester. In 2016 she received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an emphasis on fiber and material studies.