Saturday, January 31, 2015

Artist Profile: Lindsey Allgood

We recently had the pleasure of meeting Lindsey in Dallas during the exhibition Inside)(Outside curated by Performance SW, and we fell in love with her work. Lindsey lives in Oklahoma City where we are happy to hear, there is a thriving performance art scene. Lindsey will be performing via Skype tonite Saturday 31st at Continuum's new exhibit "Subliminal Fixtures" in the East End ( The East-Klestic @ 4101 Dallas, 9pm-midnight). Come see her performance inside a kitchen cabinet starting at 9:30pm, amongst the work of many Continuum artists.

Check out this  interview she just did for our blog:

How does Performance Art Function for you?
Performance art negates language and for that I love it. I am a writer and teacher of writing by day, so being able to "tell stories" and transmit feeling or thought without words and purely with my body is beautiful and cathartic for me. I am a very physical person; I always have been. I thrive on hugs and have to sleep with 3 pillows in a very particular position. I was very active as a child and never could sit still well; so, the act of feeling and moving as an artistic medium comes natural to me. It's a physical language that can bypass any systematic or predetermined semiotics.
How does living in Oklahoma affect your performance art work?
When I began making performances, they were very political and naive; I didn't know any performance art history at the beginning of graduate school so I came into it blind. I think growing up in this very very very conservative (and naive in its own way) state instilled in me a latent anger. I experienced creative suppression growing up in various ways and performance let me blast it out of my body. Now, I have found a small community that embraces performance and have calmed down a bit; I prefer a more poetic, though still sometimes aggressive tone. Oklahoma is still not New York or Chicago, and it never will be. Now, I try not to let my geographical roots affect my work too much; rather, I try to look at the universals of the female experience.
Describe a favorite performance art piece that you have done.
I particularly loved the experience of a piece I did at Grace Exhibition Space in Brooklyn titled Vessels. I created a harness type thing made of rope and hung 100 clear bottles from it with fish hooks. I was naked beneath the bottles. I filled the 'vessels' with red and white wine, and one with milk. I walked out into the middle of the audience. As I walked or turned, the fish hooks would prick me a bit; the idea behind this was to slow me down, allow me to be hyper aware of the space I took up as I moved, and the boundaries I set for my body. I tried to make eye contact with as many people as possible; simultaneously, I held out a bottle as if offering it to someone. Finally, someone came up and drank the wine from the bottle, and others followed. As they moved the bottles, the hooks shifted too. I don't think anyone was aware of this. So, in this way it was a very personal performance. I stood there until people stopped drinking from the bottles. I felt like a mother feeding her children; or a Madonna sacrificing her body. With most people, it was a very intimate experience. I also loved the image of this liquid-bubble dress I made. I'm very big on the pictures I paint with materials.
Name some of your performance art heroes. Who has inspired/influenced your performance art?

I love Kira O'Reilly. She did this one piece where she rolled down a red carpeted stairwell as slow as she could, nude. It was a dance. The weight of her body pressing into the stairs' angles left a pattern of red marks on her body. It's hypnotic to watch; not sexy in any way, like a nude female body generally tends to be. I also love Janine Antoni; all of her classics: when she painted the gallery floor with her hair; when she gnawed on two busts: one made of chocolate, the other made of lard. Very visceral, animalistic.

I love any artist who uses food or dead animals. My studio is full of dead bugs and bones and fruit rinds. (My studio is actually the extra bedroom in my apartment). I'm constantly collecting these materials, which is sort of a long term performance in itself. These materials have appeared in some videos and performances, but a lot of the stuff is special to me, and when I perform I tend to destroy things, breaking plates, squishing up food, actions like that. So, I have acquired a cabinet of curiosities of sorts.

Over all, performance is a battle for me, like any other artist's practice. There is an anxiety that tells me I should be constantly creating, but then I have to ask myself, "What does it mean to create"? I'm not a painter, so I can't literally count the hours I spend with a brush in my hand. I write a lot, which helps my keep my ideas somewhat organized. I find it easiest to stay in a creative rhythm when I have a schedule of performances; one or two every few months is enough now. 

I think for any younger artist today, fusing "real life" with "art life" is a very real chaotic dance. Finding your own method to the madness is key, and something that we must share with each other to survive.

Check out more of Lindsey Allgood's work in her website:

Photos courtesy of Kristen Howard