Field Experiments in A Long and Short Time Comin: Seeing It Through/Seeing Through It

Kate Harding –Field Experiments in A Long and Short Time Comin: Seeing It Through/Seeing Through It–

September 20th to November 2, 2019.

3A Gallery, 629 East 6th Street #1, New York, NY 10009

In this solo exhibition with 3A Gallery, an installation of works were shown that resulted from of an intensive period of exploration integrating drawing, painting, and digital embroidery on draped and sewn linen. With an early background in garment construction, Harding’s practice developed to include documenting structured and performative “field experiments” using her body as a tool of measure and site of projection. This primarily video documentation, would be mined for data to be used in creating discrete objects and environments. The first question was, “Does my twang and way of speaking have a relation to land/terrain of my upbringing that I consider part of my family?” After admitting that at the heart of that question was her feeling of a sharedness of language and intersubjective perception amongst more than human entities within this familial landscape, it became a hope to make work that could facilitate a sharedness or conversation across divides of the human variety. Harding’s work considers terrain’s intersection with speech and movement, inviting consideration of embodied communication and ways of knowing and memory. Interdisciplinary in material and approach, Harding's background in garment design and construction continues to provide a metaphoric structure to her work, as does research in science, history, critical philosophy, folklore and the colloquial phrase.


Over the years

Past few weeks

For a few months now

Finally and Ever since I used to I still do

I’m not a guest, and I’m not new here, but still having a hard time being here anymore and I remember now that that feeling, it’s been here for a long time… so that’s why I retreated into the trees and into the machine and into the fabric draped around me and sought to drape it around others... to reveal new worlds or open mine up to include friends who can’t speak the language either.

 So I been wantin this machine for a long time now… years. But it’s not just the machine cause you’ve got to get the software too, and oh man its proprietary… and specialized… and expensive… and all the softwares that do this stuff… they don’t do the same thing… they don’t need to for who usually buys this stuff… who usually buys this stuff isn’t trying to do what I’m trying to do… the machines aren’t really built for it totally, but I can explore and push things to see where it can go… and that’s what I’m doing. So I had to search and try things out cause I knew what I needed… pretty much… and then I’d been doing these drawings and these drawings were a way for me to know I existed - I figured out later because they became thicker together when I stacked em and I could look at the stack and say, “ok, those look like something… that’s a pile of papers there.” The drawings were me trying to not psych myself out and let it come without getting attached, and what came wasn’t surprising after all and all started looking like somethings that sit together: fragments, layers, tree-plant-animal-abstract, specific place bits. Nothing to put your finger on for too long… but with punctuations. 

 I’ll let you in on this thing here. I think there’s room for everybody. None a this scarcity shit… that’s a hold over from some tragic times and I don’t want to hold that poison anymore… expel the foul demons and such, if you know what I mean. That said, there doesn’t seem to be a substitute for puttin in the time, that’s for sure.

 So now this machine… I figured I’d see bout these drawings… as kind of “tests”... I’ve been doin “field experiments” for pretty much my whole life, but just started calling them that more recently… cept they been happenin in the “field” or “down by the creek” and now I been tryin to figure out where they go from there… what that means outside of that outside and how to go about it. These field experiments here are going to be on the wall for a bit, and that by itself is a bit unnerving for me cause I want to tell the full story and got to put it all there on the wall I guess this time… but they’re “tests” that are not just “tests”... if you feel like you don’t get the whole things… well then there you go… you don’t… put that in your pipe and smoke it for a bit.

 So this machine… it takes a long time depending on what your doin. And my stuff takes a long dang time cause I’m doing some things… and this is a very different feeling from making these little drawings when I’m making them and watching them stack up. And because I’m doing things this machine isn’t really thinking it’s going to do, I have to watch it like a hawk… for the most part… and this takes hours and days and on and on… and this thing makes noise… repetitive, get in your head and overtake your brain for hours kind of noise. It becomes a day in day out repetitive rhythm with different tonal whirrs depending on how fast or slow the machine needs to do to do what I asked it to please do. And my body gets into these rhythms with the machine, and these contortions for long periods, hypnotized and aching… that I forgot to expect, but I know what it’s like to be an ever ready right hand so this machine’s got me and I’ve got it… but it’s not just that…

 There’s a history to this… all this… painting is at the base in this case… and it feels so different, so immediate again…. Like the drawings but not at all when you get into it… this isn’t a flat thing to look at and get it “at a glance”... 

… this ain’t no disco… ain’t no country club either…


  • Kate Harding, 2019