Vestige Vessels: Centennial of the Everyday and
Peace, Plenty and Independence
Soda fired stoneware, looping video, plexiglass, walnut
Stoneware made in collaboration with Jani Hileman and Mat Karas at the Maryland Institute College of Art Ceramics Department, Baltimore
Videos produced in collaboration with Jonathan Monaghan
In the Centennial of the Everyday vessel, an 18th century coconut sherd from the Alexandria Archaeology collection is shown as a spinning animation. This sherd represents the wide variety of goods and people brought to Alexandria’s shores as an active port city. Project collaborators Char McCargo Bah and Stephen Hammond read 3 poems that they chose: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (by Langston Hughes), “That Man is a Success” (by Robert Louis Stevenson), and “Caged Bird” (by Maya Angelou).
In the Peace, Plenty and Independence vessel, a portrait miniature of Provey Norris (Gadsby’s 3rd wife, painted in 1829 by Anson Dickinson) is animated and paired with audio of Tracy Loughlin reading two recipes connected to Gadsby’s Tavern, one from the 19th century (egg nog from a Gadsby descendant’s recipe box) and one from the present (Sally Lunn bread from the Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant).
Grieve for an hour perhaps then mourn a year
The vessels’ exterior text hints to what is revealed inside – the grief of an anonymous woman.
The cobalt glazed text is a line from the Alexander Pope poem, “Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady.” A portion of this poem is inscribed on the grave of the Female Stranger in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Cemetery in Alexandria.
Inside this vessel, a female figure found on the original iron coal grate in the ballroom is moved to tears.
Vestige Vessels: What they cain’t say in a tweet they
don’t say at all
In this vessel you will see a slideshow that compiles photographs from the artists’ site visits and other finds during the process of researching and constructing the artworks on view throughout the museum.
Centennial of the Everyday is a collaboration of Lauren Frances Adams and Stewart Watson
images courtesy Vince Lupo