As Thais Mather’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition Reckless Abandon approaches its closing date, join her for a final public engagement on Friday, February 2 from 5 to 7 pm. Light refreshments will be served. Reckless Abandon runs through February 10, 2018.
“I think people are getting these catastrophic feelings, that this is the end,” says Thais Mather. “I don’t believe in that. I think this is a beginning.” The feminist artist’s new exhibition, Reckless Abandon, comes at a time of cultural, political and environmental upheaval. It’s an ideal moment to examine human history from a revolutionary stance—and present urgent questions that can reveal a new path forward. Through a monumental art installation and an interconnected series of performances and events, Mather will challenge viewers to abandon patriarchal structures in favor of a transcendent vision for humanity.
The gallery will accept a sliding scale donation of $5-$10 in support of the artists.
Thais Mather unites activist and feminist artists for this special holiday event. Todd Ryan White, David Mcmaster, Tim Reed, Ekalos Reed and Niomi Fawn will join Mather to present a series of performance vignettes among the artworks of Reckless Abandon.
Reckless Abandon is Mather’s first major show in Santa Fe, though she hesitates to call it a solo exhibition—at least in a traditional sense. “I feel like the concept of the male genius artist, presenting his solo magnum opus is a Greenbergian farce. Everything you create is influenced by other artists, by your mentors, by your relationships, by the music and literature you adore.” she says.
Mather considers the participating performers—and gallery visitors—to be collaborators when they cross the show’s threshold. The exhibition will evolve through these contributions and interactions, inspiring community members to return multiple times and experience new surprises. Inspired by the art movement called magical realism, Mather aims to weave moments of transformation into everyday life.
Thais Mather’s Reckless Abandon is not an exhibition that you would call “on view,” in a passive sense. In fact, it’s a show that views youinmanycases. It unfolds and evolves, pulling viewers and other artists into its orbit in compelling ways. For example, gallery visitors are free to interact with the ceramic masks in Mather’s installation200,000. During the opening reception, there were audible gasps in the crowd as people reached across the platform and plucked faces from the vast field of sculptures. If a visitor decided to acquire a mask, they were allowed to take it with them that evening, leaving a gap in the grid. In this sense, the arrangement of artworks in Reckless Abandon has changed every day since it debuted late last month.
The exhibition will transform yet again on Friday, December 15, when Mather unites feminist and activist artists for a series of performances among the artworks. Todd Ryan White, David Mcmaster, Tim Reed, Ekalos Reed and Niomi Fawn will each add their artistic voices to the show. “I feel like the concept of the male genius artist presenting his solo magnum opus is a Greenbergian farce,” Mather explains. “Everything you create is influenced by other artists, by your mentors, by your relationships, by the music and literature you adore.”
This new paradigm could also redefine the role of the storytellers who have reflected on Reckless Abandon since its opening. Perhaps they too should be considered collaborators, directing channels of the show’s conceptual river in fresh directions. In her review of Reckless Abandon for Pasatiempo, Iris McLister analyzed the show’s sweeping scale and individualized impact:
Feminist and universal, political and primitive, ancient and hyper-contemporary. Alchemical. These are just a handful of words that aptly describe artist Thais Mather’s exhibition Reckless Abandon, now on view at Form & Concept. Though the entirety of the gallery’s cavernous downstairs is filled with her work, the art’s intentionality never seems compromised by its quantity. During a recent tour of the show, Mather said, “I want to make art that will last. It feels really important to me to have the discipline to make things that endure.”
Comprising sculpture, drawing, video art, printmaking, and more, Reckless Abandon could feel sprawling, but instead it’s immersive and intimate. Describing a central theme for the show, Mather wrote in her artist statement, “I’m really contemplating humanity: how culture began, where we are now, and where that might evolve.”
McLister also touched on the show’s highly collaborative ethos:
Mather is transparent about relying on the knowledge and help of others in making this show a reality. Friends and peers, including local artists Sandra Wang, Ron Pokrasso, and Chris Collins, were instrumental in helping Mather learn and execute new techniques. This must partially inform why she doesn’t like what she has called the “farce of the solo show.” For her, the experience of art — whether making it or viewing it — is most rewarding when it’s collaborative in nature.
I’m trying really hard… to not give too much information, because I really think that what viewers perceive in the work is a really valuable asset to the work itself. The one thing that I will say about it is that I deeply researched feminism, and that’s where my background comes from in terms of the theoretical aspect of what I’m interested in.
I find social change important in work, trying to change and challenge my audience and myself… We are learning, we are failing, and sometimes we get it right. Mostly I hope we can think about the rest of the world—not just humanity, but the planet. 200,000 years is a short time within a four-billion-year-old process. I just keep looking and asking, and knowing very little in return. It feels good, so I just keep doing it.
On a similar note, Eliza Lutz of Matron Records talked about the show’s ability to inspire across mediums and disciplines in the record label’s December newsletter:
Though Matron Records is clearly an entity with music front and center, we are constantly exploring the many ties between various disciplines and perspectives, ranging in everything from sound and design to performance art and printmaking to storytelling and feminism. Reckless Abandon, the multi-discipline exhibition by Mather featuring hundreds of artworks, navigates the space between these ideas, dismantling traditional & patriarchal art narratives to create a show that re-imagines human history and what it might become.
Given the current political climate, with a recent resurgence of the #MeToo campaign setting the tone for a radical cultural shift in many male-dominated fields, Reckless Abandon could not come at a better time. The immense body of work and interconnected series of performances and events tackle the full weight of the past and present while still offering a magic and radical vision for the future. “I think people are getting these catastrophic feelings, that this is the end,” says Thais Mather. “I don’t believe in that. I think this is a beginning.”
At this special event, Thais Mather will read excerpts from writings that span two years of her creative process, which culminated in the body of work for Reckless Abandon.
“I’m really contemplating humanity: how culture began, where we are now, and where that might evolve,” says Mather. Reckless Abandon comprises hundreds of artworks that will fill form & concept’s ground floor, tracing thousands of years of natural and human history.
Reckless Abandon opens at form & concept on Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-7 pm, and runs through February 10, 2018.
“I think people are getting these catastrophic feelings, that this is the end,” says Thais Mather. “I don’t believe in that. I think this is a beginning.” The feminist artist’s new exhibition, Reckless Abandon, comes at a time of cultural, political and environmental upheaval. It’s an ideal moment to examine human history from a revolutionary stance—and present urgent questions that can reveal a new path forward. Through a monumental art installation and an interconnected series of performances and events, Mather will challenge viewers to abandon patriarchal structures in favor of a transcendent vision for humanity. Reckless Abandon opens at form & concept on Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-7 pm, and runs through February 10, 2018.
Thais Mather’sReckless Abandon opens TONIGHT from 5-7 pm—with a reading from 2-3 pm on Saturday—and the artist has been hard at work installing the show and engaging the press in a conversation about art, history and feminism. Watch the latest clip from our video preview series above, and check out links to press about Reckless Abandon below.
It’s not every day that a gallery as spacious as the Railyard’s form & concept opens up an entire floor to just one artist, but Santa Fe’s Thais Mather has a massive body of multi-disciplinary work and a whole hell of a lot to say. With Reckless Abandon, Mather examines the ideas of humanity, feminism, activism, the end of days and so much more through visual works, collaborative performance pieces and readings.
Megan Bennett of Albuquerque Journal North wrote an awesome preview of the exhibition. A little excerpt:
[Mather’s] mixed-media work, inspired by mankind’s evolution over time, with its art and symbols, ranges from resembling something that could have been made by cave people to more modern conceptual pieces. All of it, she says, is meant to encourage the audience to reflect on what’s worth holding on to and what’s not.
“There’s a point we’re coming to as Americans that our privileges are going to run out,” said Mather. “It just doesn’t matter any more. It’s a globalized world, and there’s going to have to be some complete reimagining with how the culture functions and how the global culture functions if we really plan to survive.”
Kathryn Davis interviewed Thais among the artworks of Reckless Abandon for her media platform ArtBeat Santa Fe:
Emily Van Cleve of Santa Fe Arts Journal wrote up the show earlier this week in an article aptly title A Vision for Humanity. Here’s a blurb:
Mather describes the process of making art as her product. “The show was birthed as an exploration of material and self, with the self as material and the material as self,” she adds. “I pushed the limits of what I knew but tried not to manipulate any material beyond what it was teaching me. So I worked with clay and let the clay converse with me. I worked in watercolor and we talked and didn’t fight. I just spent time and got lost and found in the process.”
“This is war, and we’re strong, and we’re here,” Lucy Madeline told Honey Harris on KBAC Radio this morning. “We’re going to fight this, even if the odds feel like they’re against us.” Madeline appeared with our director, Frank Rose, to promote the debut performance of the Victory Grrrls collective. The interdisciplinary group, comprising Madeline, Niomi Fawn and Thais Mather, will take part in a weekend of feminist action at form & concept.
On Friday, February 10, legendary feminist artist Judy Chicago will appear at a special presentation on her artwork by Chad Alligood, curator of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. All available seats are reserved for this free event, but you can tune in to our Facebook Live broadcast at 5:00 pm MST. The following afternoon, Victory Grrrls will occupy form & concept’s atrium for three powerful performance art pieces. Here’s Emily Van Cleve’s take on Saturday’s event from Santa Fe Arts Journal:
The upcoming visit of feminist artist and art educator Judy Chicago to form & concept has inspired Niomi Fawn, Thais Mather and Lucy Madeline, a.k.a. “Victory Grrrls,” to present their first performance piece at the gallery.
“It felt like we’d finally found our tribe,” says Mather about last year’s founding of Victory Grrrls, whose name was inspired by a World War II campaign poster and the 1990’s underground feminist punk rock movement Riot grrrl. “This is the prime time to be doing what we know is our calling: to be feminist activists.”
Read the rest of the article for more information on Niomi, Thais and Lucy’s performances, and make sure to mark your calendar for the event on Saturday, February 11 at 3:00 pm. Click here to learn more about the Victory Grrrls performance, and hereto learn more about the Judy Chicago presentation.