Sue Scott Gallery

In Conversation: Carrie Moyer, Sheila Pepe & Alice Randall

NY Arts Magazine, December 2011

“Re-imagining what it means to be armed. Re-imaging my humanity by veiling my hand, framing what I offer to the public and what I retain for myself as an intimate gift. Stepping into the conversation between Sheila and Carrie. Carrie’s colors are lyric with a lightness of the earth. Sheila’s structures have something of the precision of the martial about them—order does not control but liberates them. Their glove dresses me to enter culture wars armed, flying the colors of my friends’ imagination. They allow my fingers to be more naked and less vulnerable. The costume-fragment emboldens me. It now lives downstairs on a porcelain latex glove caste. The glove-gauntlet awaits my brown skin. I like that very much.”

—Alice Randall (Journal entry)

Sheila Pepe: Carrie and I went to Yaddo in July, 2011 as a collaborative team.

Carrie Moyer: We started off by making simplified versions of our own work for the other person to finish.

SP: The first hybrids were pretty flat-footed. Carrie would give me a piece of fabric and I just got stuck with coming up with a viable conclusion beyond the painting it was! (Laughs.) We needed a third point in the collaboration. We needed a client.

CM: Sheila was working on a series that approached clothing. Since Yaddo overflows with interesting artists, we decided to pick one to be our client. Sheila’s first pick was Alice Randall, a wonderful writer who radiates pure energy through an amazing cloud of black hair.

SP: … and who has a vivid imagination, sense of play, and was excited about being invited into the process. When she got to my studio, she saw that I had been making gloves and requested a “magic writing glove.”

CM: We actually treated her like our client: she picked out the colors and Sheila took the measurements of her forearm and hand.

SP: Alice’s ideas were incorporated into the construction of the glove. One thing I loved about working with Alice was that the symbolic order was always present. Form and color meant very particular things to her. I was reminded of a classical formalism that engages daily life in a totally different way—always with a lot of narrative. As visual artists, we tend to accept that interpretation occurs after we’re done with whatever we’re making.

CM: Yes. For me the first narrative is always the craft history, art history, or the process history. Alice was thinking about the social, the literary, the mythic. Plus, we were living on a beautiful estate that was very Hobbit-like with its Arts and Crafts architecture. Living in the Shire definitely influenced what we made.

SP: So, you dyed a piece of canvas with acrylic paint, getting a couple of very complex colors out of it. So your interpretation of Alice’s ideas launched all of the selections that came after. You also added interference to draw the light to the surface. It looked like it had been sampled from your paintings—veils and tide lines created bands so that the fabric could be cut to include these as compositional elements. I crocheted and sewed a glove within the painting. The painting wrapped around the back of the wrist and forearm; the glove sat inside of it. I added subtle embellishments onto the painting side.

CM: The resulting form reflects Sheila’s longstanding love of armor. A set of interesting forms hinged together with brilliant devices that facilitate or constrict movement. Something similar is happening in Alice’s glove. It’s a fingerless gauntlet—the part that holds the shaft to the hand is a crocheted piece that you stick your fingers through. Once you turn the glove over there’s a small opening exposing the palm through all the protective layers.

SP: From afar, it is a painting wrapped around an arm and makes me think of the coloring an animal would present for various effects. Your painting presents a sense of royalty, magic.

CM: Yes, Alice is a queen or some sort of sorceress.

SP: Both!  Does using color this way change how you view its symbolism in your paintings?

CM: Well, I already use it this way at times. You do too. You did a series of purple installations after 9/11 that referenced the funeral bunting draped across the New York City firehouses. For the glove, I dipped the canvas into green, then purple paint instead of just pouring it on. The result was a uniform, deeply textured color that seemed to merge three different cultural locations: Woodstock, the Renaissance Faire and even Marimekko.

SP: Your approach from painting, and mine from sculpture allows us to meet – with Alice in the middle – as designers.

CM: Yes, so of course we ended with a photo shoot; Alice modeling the glove in a flowing “Stevie Nicks” dress and wraparound biker sunglasses. Now the power glove now lives with Alice Randall in Nashville …

SP: Rock star!

This article was published by NY Arts Magazine, 2011. NY Arts Magazine is published by Abraham Lubelski. Sponsored by Broadway Gallery, NYC and World Art Media. To read this article in its orginal context click here.