“My parents grew up on farms. One grandmother collected things (kept things) and the other was a Grand Storyteller. Both influenced me greatly. I create sculptures and installations using materials available in a given place at a given time – ranging from things found to collected experiences and retold stories. Often, I’ll alter a space using architectural interventions and enlist the public’s participation in the gathering of materials or through performative interactions.
I used to find and keep objects for their potential but I now have a more immediate approach to working with materials and sites: finding, using and letting go. I’ve drastically limited my bounty of resources, forcing myself to rely heavily on insight, good oldfangled farm know-how (thanks, Dad) and my MacGyver-like resourcefulness.
Limiting my resources has also led me to engage viewers more directly in scheduled events and unscheduled mini-events – like the “farm tours” I’ve given in various places where I guide groups around, pointing out and describing bits of my father’s farm (site of the ongoing “The Farms Project”) as if we were actually there; collecting phrases in French from French people in France; using masking tape to write large letters to crushes I’ve had; getting people to “draw a line” for a bound book of 524 lines on 524 pages by 524 people; or in building tents in people’s living rooms using materials they have on hand.
I remain fascinated by collections – even if a bit wary. I abstain from collections by giving myself art-or-else deadlines. Sometimes your things… is such a project, covering the walls with homemade cardboard shadowboxes filled with things found and kept over the years. My parents’ junk drawer… reveals my attraction to meaningless objects that I am, nonetheless, charmed by and have fond memories of.
Currently I’m highlighting the tendency towards accidental collections (all the extension cords from my studio, all the sheets, all the yarn, or all the tape, etc.) by combining them with objects or architectural elements found on site. This immediate way of responding to sites and the current contents of my studio becomes a candid representation of a specific moment in time.” – Kerry Phillips
Rocking Chair Sessions
Maria Theresa Barbist and Elysa D. Batista are both locally based South Florida artists that collaborate as the BABA COLLECTIVE. They originally met at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, FL during their individual artist residencies in 2016.
The idea of the BABA COLLECTIVE was born when in discussion of the diversity of artists that were found at the BAC, and other institutions in Miami, they realized the lack of archives providing the ability to access interviews of these individuals. Thus RCS: ROCKING CHAIRS SESSIONS was created. A publicly accessible forum where one could find individual recordings describing the professions, media, and life of South Florida based creatives.
Launching their collaborative endeavor in 2017, the BABA COLLECTIVE seeks to amass a window into the lives and process of SoFla based professionals in the arts.