Opening Reception: February 8, 2 pm – 4 pm
Lorrie Fredette’s site-responsive installation in Studio X fills the space with thousands of white serpentine-shaped porcelain elements. Loosely related to the spirochete of Lyme disease, these delicate forms occupy areas of the ceiling, walls, floor, and even the column, transforming the gallery into a quasi-infected environment. They appear to “infest” the space by their sheer number and by the suggestion of movement and encroachment across the floor, walls and the ceiling.
The gleaming white environment may suggest a laboratory or other sterile environment. Visitors are asked to place protective booties over their street shoes before walking into and through the installation. Everything and everyone that enters the all-white space appears in utter contrast to it. Color penetrates the room only through the interaction of visitors, who, in their own way “contaminate” the space. The immersive experience is enhanced by the inclusion of a looped audio sound track—a complex layering of faint low-level sounds like sighs, rustling bed linens, white noise, respirators and other hospital equipment.
Fredette’s sculptures and installations are inspired by medical and environmental news stories and historical sources, and often use related statistics as points of entry. Here the number of porcelain elements—14,100—relates to the total number of cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control between 2009 and 2013 in all twenty-one of New Jersey’s counties. Correspondingly, Fredette has designed twenty-one different pattern types for the serpentine elements, each ranging from 4 to 18 inches in length.
The artist, known for her ambitious projects, often requires a team of helpers to realize and execute her vision. Assistants and volunteers—many from the Art Center’s community—participated in this installation process, which required several weeks. The participatory aspect of the project is important to Fredette, who prepared all of the individual elements, but allowed her team creative freedom in attaching them. The porcelain elements are in effect marks made by the artist that are composed by the participants, making this installation a collaborative group “drawing” on all of the surfaces of Studio X.