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.
“I find that people are really hungering for ritual and prayer, and not in a traditional, religious way,” says Ekalos Reed. Reed and Áine McCarthy’s performance art group is called Time Beings. This winter, they collaborate with Kara Duval—another local performer who explores themes of ritual, reclamation and healing—for a 12-hour performance among the artworks of form & concept’s exhibition Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon. In the multi-part ritual prayer, they will convene other Santa Fe artists and anyone who wishes to take part as they create moments and spaces that redefine the sacred. The piece represents a dynamic response to the exhibition’s themes and a tribute to women and others who have faced persecution. Reed and McCarthy perform ‘Tending the Mighty Dead’ from 7 am to 7 pm. Kara Duval performs ‘Red’ from 4:30- 6:30 pm. There is a closing ceremony from 6- 7 pm. From 7 to 10 am, the performance will be visible from outside form & concept, but the gallery does not open to the public until 10 am.
Sequence of Events
The public is invited to attend the event at anytime and for any duration from 10 am to 7 pm to watch, write a prayer, ring a bell, offer a flower, meditate or engage in some other respectful way with the ritual. Please Note: From 7am to 10 am the performance will be visible from outside of form & concept, but the gallery does not open to the public until 10 am. Read on for more information on each phase of the performance.
“Tending the Mighty Dead”
Áine McCarthy & Ekalos Reed
Áine McCarthy and Ekalos Reed perform “Tending the Mighty Dead” a 12 hour ritual prayer to embody the remembrance of our killed ancestors (women and others) and to invite their wisdom to take root in our individual and collective flesh, bones, and blood. “In ancient times Art was not separate from Healing,” says Reed. “In this spirit we offer ourselves in movement for twelve hours to see clearly the injustice and feel clearly the pain. In doing this we create a space for wisdom and strength to return to us.” The ritual will include a soundscape of present-day field recordings from places here in New Mexico and far away that have historical significance to the project. Bearing witness in ourselves and in places where injustices have occured is part of the healing process and helps tend the ground to grow new creative and healthy lifeways.
4:30 – 6:30pm
Kara Duval performs “RED”, a reintegrating ritual that snakes its way through the exhibit in search of reclamation. The set for ‘Red’ consists of over 300 ft of red fabric that is woven through the art works in the gallery. Duval traverses the fabric, symbolizing the long journey often taken to return home to the body after experiencing trauma. Movement is one of the first expressions restricted when a person or a people have gone through trauma. RED is about the movement to return home to the body and recognizing its inherent wholeness. Duval uses dance and story to reconnect and heal the fabric of her individual and collective histories. She uses an audio tapestry of women’s personal stories revolving around shame, abuse, and trauma as a sound score to her journey.
Reed, McCarthy and Duval are joined by additional performers to complete the closing ceremony.
Áine Pierandi McCarthy holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where she studied Religion and had the chance to spend four months in Bodh Gaya, India studying meditation and Buddhist traditions. She is also a graduate of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at Upaya Zen Center and served as co-director of this program from 2014-2017. In 2016, she completed the 200-hour Yogic Study & Teacher Training Program at YogaSource in Santa Fe accredited by Yoga Alliance. She is currently a student in the Living School at the Center for Contemplation and Action in Albuquerque. At Wesleyan she had the good fortune to study Delicious Movement with Eiko Otake and to serve as her teaching assistant.
Kara Duval received a BFA in Photography and Theater Dance and is a licensed massage therapist. She has been a student of 5 Rhythms, a movement meditation practice created by Gabrielle Roth, since 2013. Her most influential teachers are her clients, who are willing to dive into the mythos of the body with her. She believes alchemy happens in the blood, bones, and breath and that the greatest mystery is happening right now, under our skin. Her childhood was split between running around with Russian Gypsies at the Renaissance Festival in Magnolia, TX and sitting zazen with Soto Zen Buddhists. Elements of these experiences weave their influence into most of her projects. Her curiosity always comes back to the body, nature, and ritual.
Ekalos Ume Reed is a performer, choreographer and teacher. She has performed around the world with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Pearl Lang Dance Theatre, Moving People Dance, Catherine Cabeen and Company, and Robert Wood Dance NY among others. She is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner as well as a GYROTONIC® and GYOKINESIS® Master Trainer. In the present Eka creates open system performances that explore dimensions of time and space underneath thought-based movement control. Ideas from dynamic systems approach to development and Moshe Feldenkrais’ work and writings inspire her movement practice and her performance systems. Eka strives to activate her audience and her students into a dialogue of development that elucidates the ‘spells’ we are casting that may deserve some revision. Creating systems that invite everyone into greater awareness and autonomy is her passion.
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.”