Jenny Fine performs at The Sculpture Center

Premiere: Thursday, Sept. 4 @ 7-9 PM Matinee: Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 2-4 PM Exhibition on view Sept 5-6 and 8-11

Flat Granny and Me: A Procession in My Mind
a 2014 W2S performance & exhibition by Jenny Fine with music by John HC Thompson of FiveOne Experimental Orchestra
in the Main Gallery

Storyteller Jenny Fine creates imagined spaces, shaped by her family’s narratives of rural Alabama cotton country, that are a collision of the past and the present, straddling the line between fantasy and reality. A procession in my mind is part of an ongoing series of performances with “Flat Granny” created by Fine that take place within theatrical, constructed environments. “Flat Granny” was inspired by the “Flat Daddies” project of military families, life-sized photos of deployed military personnel that their families keep with them at all times and during all activities to help them cope with the absence. Fine’s Flat Granny is a costumed, cardboard cutout of her grandmother made from photographs of her that Fine took during last ten years of her life.

A Procession in My Mind, the performances and the remaining exhibition, places the viewer in a dream-like setting and state. Surrounded by a panoramic photographic backdrop, visitors circle the performance stage. This stage, stacked high with cotton bolls grown on her family farm, recalls a 1960s float in their Enterprise, AL, annual Boll Weevil Parade for which her Granny was a parade queen. Actors: the artist, her father seated on a monstrous boll weevil, “Flat Granny,” and costumed performers from the student body of the Cleveland Institute of Art. Evocative music, which incorporates singing by Fine’s now deceased grandmother, piano playing by her farmer father and Fine’s own sweet singing, composed by John HC Thompson, artistic director of FiveOne Experimental Orchestra, plays in the background.

The inclusion of these overlapping popular culture and art forms – parade, diorama, performance, costumes, installation, video, still photography, classically based compositions and recorded folk music – makes Procession a compendium of sorts of American time-honored public performances and the mash up that is contemporary art. Its interwoven subject matter – weird Americana, Southern rural traditions, agricultural struggles, family traditions and nostalgia – produces a particularly strong work.

Straddling the line between fantasy and reality, Fine’s A Procession in My Mind is the latest of an ongoing series of performances with Fine’s “Flat Granny” (a life-sized photographic cutout) in theatrical, constructed environments that place the viewer in a dream-like setting and state. Past performances and photography exhibitions have been reviewed in Columbus Alive, Bust, IdeaFixe and Beautiful Decay (2014), (2013) and Bühne Dresden (2012). A 2014 video interview with Fine before her most recent exhibition at the Dublin Art Center was recently rebroadcast on WOSU’s Broad & High.

about the artist

This is The Sculpture Center’s first commissioned W2S performance by an early career artist of our region. The project will conclude with a series of medium format photographs and a short film. The commissioning of this work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. The 2014 W2S exhibitions catalog is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. The artist received a generous direct grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council for certain expenses incurred for this performance. All Sculpture Center exhibitions are supported by generous grants from the Kulas Foundation and The John P. Murphy Foundation.