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  • PurpleWindow


Updated: May 27, 2020

title: Life Inside

artist: Millicent Kennedy & Michael Chambers

materials: tracing paper, sheer curtains, thread

dimensions: 65 " x 105 " x 70"

location: Chicago, Illinois, US

Life Inside is a site responsive installation made by Millicent Kennedy and Michael Chambers during quarantine. Over the course of the stay at home order the artists will continue to trace one another’s shadows, paused in gestures of daily life, and install the overlapping silhouettes in a backlit bay window. The resulting images compress time, and keep a record of human movement in domestic space. This work looks to recreate the mystery of looking in on a stranger’s home and seeing part of their lives. Thus pushing  the private into public space. The artists will also be using this surface to project video over the course of the month.

"This time for introspection is ideal for making. We wanted to draw upon both the recent memories of gathering together, but create that illusion with just ourselves, and use something temporary, and without substance."

These shadows, traced and compressed together create a layered document of our time in domestic space. The process of tracing another person, and trying to make an accurate record, while you exist in the human impossibility of standing still, seems ripe with metaphor for our anxieties and unrest in this unusual time. 

Millicent Kennedy is a Chicago based artist, curator, and educator working in installation, fiber art, print media, and artist books though the performative nature of her work is the vein that runs throughout this variety of media meant to archive gestures of life. Kennedy serves as the Gallery Director at Rockford University's Art Gallery. She also teaches screen print, bookbinding and relief printmaking at Evanston Art Center, Lillstreet Art Center and The Art Center Highland Park. Kennedy is a member of the Purple Window Gallery co-op where she serves on their curatorial committee. Follow her on Instagram: @millicentkennedystudios

Michael Chambers is a Chicago based artist working primarily in video, photography and new media, he attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. He has shown recently at Red Lotus Gallery in Muskegon Mi, Muskegon Museum of Art, and Parlor and Ramp Gallery in Chicago, IL. Follow him on Instagram: @chambersoffire

Life Inside by Millicent Kennedy & Michael Chambers

Photography by Amy Shelton

More on Millicent Kennedy's practice

Labor + Time = Matter

Matter + Time = Flux and Decay

Our lives are built on repeated cycles. Though days, months, and years feel like an accumulation of routines, each moment is distinct. Like a stitching thread sewing down time stitch by stitch, life is built upon the subtle variations. My artwork focuses on efforts to document the fleeting but telling, details that often get lost. Through embroidery, printmaking and drawing, I explore gestural and meticulous mark making, meant to suggest compulsive behavior and anxiety. I use fabric and thread for their association with repetitive work, and their connection to the body through domestic objects such as clothing and furniture. This use of household objects creates contradictory contexts for the artwork, existing in both a fine arts sphere and in the functional world. Like two people carving the push and pull of a dialog into a table top, the everyday environment sets up a stage on which time is recorded. The labor of sewing requires devotion and time, themes that run through all of my work.

The need to prove your presence, to enact rituals to ward off death becomes the central theme. Humans exist between a domestic controlled space and uncontrollable nature. We see the dust collect on our windowsills and the seasons change, and if you do not feel like you are part of a purposeful rhythm, your stagnation amongst the changing landscape can fill you with paralyzing dread. With each day we are articulating our time on earth, and my gestures of labor are meant to mirror the impulse to archive time in a physical form. My aesthetic reference to the landscape and domestic space reinforce both of these notions of negated control

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