Visual Arts Program

Saturday, November 18, 2000 — Sunday, January 7, 2001


Presented at:


Visual arts exhibition by Ann Torke featuring an installation, THE OUTLOT including GENEVA GIRLS SCHOOL/ILLINOIS YOUTH CENTER; DAYTIME TV PROJECT
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Ann Torke's work in the Project Space is a hybrid form combining performance and sculpture to explore power, agency and the way women are "played." All the pieces are process-oriented; she has been engaged in a range of performances that focus on "accumulation" by framing the residue from particular actions or events. In Inside/Out, she collects maps of her route as bike courier, while simultaneously collecting the debris from a daily ritual sweeping of her domestic space. Each activity becomes a kind of orienting act that sets out to chart how physical labor gets "played" within gendered and economic space. In the three part Daytime TV, Torke collected all the commercials programmed to women on network television during a typical day from 6 AM to 5 PM. While differing in form and focus, both pieces become the residue or physical manifestation of how gender is constructed in contemporary culture.

In the most recent series, The Outlot, Torke discovered a neglected cemetery for teenage girls and infants who died at a wayward girls’ home in Illinois. The cemetery is the last remaining link to the reform school which operated from 1898-1977 and whose buildings have since been torn down to make way for a luxury residential development. In the developer's brochure, the cemetery is labeled as an "outlot." This becomes an apt metaphor to describe the expendability of these young women and their children. Rubbings from the 22 gravestones, as well as old bottles and enamelware used by work crews of these girls become a striking memorial to women who would not or could not fit into the societal norm.

Torke's work challenges the way women have been marginalized by the customs and conventions they inherit. The work in the exhibition becomes an act of rebellion. The accumulation of gestures becomes modes of empowerment, effectively refusing to disappear, be quiet or go away.

Ann Torke is an interdisciplinary artist working in video, sculpture, installation and performance. She is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She has also taught at Oberlin College and the School of the Art Institute Chicago. She received her MFA from the University of California, San Diego and also participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program.

Some publications related to this event:
November, 2000. - 2000