This exhibition reflected and further expanded on the artist’s intense feminist engagement with the words of Gertrude Stein over the past eight years. Since 2010, Fowler has created a beautiful body of work centred on Stein’s expansive writing practice, taking the form of posters, prints, billboards, paintings, and installations employing materials such as vinyl, neon, collage, print, painting and film. In speaking about the artist and her linguistic obsession, writer Litia Perta has commented that “across a distance of nearly a century, Fowler’s work literally commingles with Stein’s: gets close to it, pulls strands out, knits phrases back in, asks us to be near it, to think toward it.”
Fowler’s work filled DCA’s galleries over the summer and also reached beyond the walls of the institution to appear in public spaces across Dundee, punctuating the Scottish landscape with Stein’s prescient words.
Within DCA, Gallery 1 was given over to the artist’s latest film with it which it as it if it is to be, which premiered recently at Participant Inc in New York. This 16mm work is an intimate portrait of some of Fowler’s closest friends in the LA artistic community: the camera focuses on several female artists working in their studios with an accompanying soundtrack of their voices reading from Stein’s 1910 text Many Many Women. Yin Ho, writing in Artforum, described this film as “a quietly explosive work: a subtle, simple document of female camaraderie and process, and the subdued magic of everyday life.”
Across Gallery 2 there was a constellation of works in painting, print, neon, vinyl and collage – all further exploring some of Stein’s most radical writings, bringing them into the twenty-first century and highlighting the queer power and possibilities contained within these texts. The exhibition also premiered several new works: two paintings, a huge vinyl installation based on Stein’s poem Patriarchal Poetry, a body of new collage work created whilst on residency in Scotland, and a new sound work recorded on 12” vinyl that will be played in the gallery at specific times of the day.
Finally, several pieces appeared across the city over the course of the exhibition on poster boards, at bus stops, and on billboards, opening up spaces for poetry and contemplation in urban areas normally reserved for blunt advertising and capitalistic gain.
We were thrilled to also publish a new book as part of this project, gathering together an intimate community of artistic voices alongside Fowler’s, with newly commissioned texts from outstanding writers and poets such as Sophie Collins, Eileen Myles, and Litia Perta. Fowler also worked with the DCA Print Studio team to develop a new limited edition print for the exhibition.
About the artist
Eve Fowler (b. in 1964, Philadelphia, USA) currently lives and works in Los Angeles. A graduate of Temple University (BA, 1986), and Yale University (MFA, 1992), Fowler organises Artist Curated Projects in Los Angeles. She has staged recent solo exhibitions at Participant Inc, New York; Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland; Mier Gallery, Los Angeles and at Artspace, Sydney. Her work was included in Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in the Manifest Destiny billboard project, organized by LAND in 2014. Her book Anyone Telling Anything Is Telling That Thing was published by Printed Matter in September of 2013. Her second book, Hustlers, was published in May of 2014 by Capricious Publishing. Fowler’s work is included collections such as The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, San Fransisco; and The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
About the writers
Sophie Collins grew up in Bergen, North Holland, and now lives in Edinburgh. She is co-editor of tender, an online arts quarterly, and editor of Currently & Emotion (Test Centre, 2016), an anthology of contemporary poetry translations. small white monkeys, a text on self-expression, self-help and shame, was published by Book Works in 2017 as part of a commissioned residency at Glasgow Women’s Library, and her debut collection Who Is Mary Sue? has just been published by Faber & Faber.
Eileen Myles (b. 1949) is a poet, novelist and art journalist whose experimental first-person writing has become a touchstone for the identity-fluid internet age. Their fiction includes Chelsea Girls (1994), Cool for You (2000), and Inferno (a poet’s novel) (2010). Their writing on art was gathered in the volume The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art (2009). Recent books of poetry include, I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014 (2015) and Afterglow (2017).
Litia Perta is an Aries sun whose journey this time around is the Libran task of learning balance, diplomacy, pleasure. She is interested in transformation, and in collaborating to develop innovative ways (pedagogical, linguistic, theoretical, economic, spiritual and poetic) to support the transformations we came here to live through. She teaches at the University of California, Irvine and lives in Los Angeles with her cat Lucha Libre, her Leo love, and their eight-month old child. Life for her these days is a humbling exercise in gratitude.