Sunday, November 1, 2009
Linda Adele Goodine
Linda Adele Goodine gave a very interesting lecture, "The Constructed Journey: Fine Art, Photography + Video" this past Wednesday in Indianapolis as a part of IUPUI's Cutting Edge Lecture Series. Goodine has taught for 2o years at Herron School of Art + Design (photography, installation, sound, video, performance) and also teaches distance learning classes at Vermont College. She is trained as a modern dancer and also teaches yoga and sings. Her artistic practice encompasses dance, poetry, performance, video, photography, images produced using scanners. During the lecture, Goodine screened images and video from her Seneca Honey series, produced between 2007 and 2009. Goodine states that she is "thinking of honey in terms of healing" in this body of work. "You can't live a life without suffering," she muses.
The two-channel video Bee Asana: the Healing of Plath (2007, collaboration with Herb Vincent Peterson) that Goodine screened during her lecture was very powerful. The video contrasts one channel with a figure covering herself in a mixture of wine, honey and oil to another channel of honey pouring and dripping. The wine is meant to represent blood and the honey and oil symbolize war. "The video is setup so you feel very anxious, referencing the eternal cycle of suffering," Goodine explains. After being entirely covered in the mixture of wine, honey and oil the figure is then lifted away from suffering, breaking the cycle. The soundscape combines B-52 bombers, bees, World War II bomb sirens and religious anthems. The first portion is an Episcopal Thanksgiving prayer, and it ends with a Buddhist healing prayer (Goodine describes herself as "an Episcopalian who thinks like a Buddhist"). Goodine also emphasized that it is an anti-war piece and says that she was very much effected by the war.
The art in the Seneca Honey series is also inspired by the poetry of Sylvia Plath. It did not start out this way, but as Goodine became involved in a group of people engaging Plath's work, her artistic direction began to be affected. "While I've always enjoyed Plath, when I began the work I wasn't thinking about Plath," Goodine explains. "She uses metaphor the same way I use metaphor. One thing I did not want (the body of work) to do was be illustrative of Plath. I'm resonating with Plath." Plath's poems that reference honey, such as The Beekeeper's Daughter, were especially inspiring to Goodine: "I related to her heartbreak, I related to her imagery, specifically the bee poems, and I related to her pain."
The Seneca Honey series is especially important for Goodine as she looks back on her life as artist and teacher and contemplates her future. "(The Seneca Honey Series) combines my entire experience as an artist and a person in the world. I did this work as if it would be the last work I'd ever do. That gave me a certain freedom to do whatever I wanted to do."
Goodine's photography often incorporates elaborately constructed scenes. She does not create these images in Photoshop or any such program, however. "I'm not interested at all in creating anything in the computer," she reasons. "The computer, I feel, is a thief in my life. I think the computer is an amazing tool, but I don't want to live there for my work."
The Seneca Honey series will soon be exhibited in three international venues: The National Gallery of Macedonia, The National Gallery of Montenegro, and an unspecified venue in Cologne, Germany.
Image: Ghat from the Seneca Honey series.