Becky Slemmons: Ghosts

Призраки (ghosts)

Glass framed drawings
Ink & graphite on gessoed paper; handmade cast glass frames
     (100 percent solid glass; no black paint is used-only black and clear glass)
Each frame 3.75 x 3.75 inches

There are sixty-six drawings total in this series. The individual pieces are not separately titled and are of the same size and materials.

Each drawing is inspired by a scene from an Andrei Tarkovsky film, in which a dog appears. The scene is abstracted and the dog’s movement is documented with a graphite line.

Призраки (ghosts)
66 drawings in glass frames
In Andrei Tarkovsky’s seven films (1962-1986) there are 66 clips in which a dog appears. Most are German Shepherds. In interviews, Tarkovsky refused to reveal the meaning or role of the dogs in these films, aside from saying, “They are (just) dogs.” But in an interview I discovered that he mentioned this paraphrasing: The night before I left my family and homeland Russia, unsure if I would ever return, I hosted a farewell party. All of my friends wished me well enthusiastically, but it was my German Shepherd that would not look me in the eye.

Each drawing represents one of the 66 shots in Tarkovsky’s films, in which a dog appears. The scene is abstracted, and the dog’s movement is documented with a graphite line. Tarkovsky’s films are quiet, like drawings. He shows almost too much beauty, but in the simplest form. The vignettes seem archetypal and also, to me seem to be still happening now-no matter that the dogs have long gone, no chance of any of them being alive.

Through her art, Becky Slemmons searches for truths that are common throughout multiple cultures. She works in the disciplines of drawing, painting, video, performance, fiber, glass, sounds, and book arts. Her education includes an MFA from MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), Mt. Royal School of Art, and a BFA from the University of Michigan. Becky has shown her work in Berlin, Germany; Seoul, South Korea; New York; Brooklyn, NY; Portland, OR; Baltimore, MD; Washington D.C.; and Pittsburgh, PA. She has spoken about her work at the Andy Warhol Museum. Slemmons was awarded a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Grant, a Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Collaborative Fellowship Residency and a Heinz endowment to attend VCCA residency. She has served tow artist residencies in Germany and in Estonia, among others in the US. Slemmons has collaborated with choreographers and dancers. She also assistant-directed “Find Our Wings”, a community video documentary project, serving six at-risk  teenage African-American girls in Baltimore. She currently is an adjunct professor at University of Pittsburgh, instruct in the summer and Carnegie Mellon University, and previously adjuncted at MICA. She lives and works in Pittsburgh.