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July 19, 2010 / allcoveredinvines

Portrait of a Closet

by Maxine Worthy

Clean Closet by Maxine Worthy

This piece was inspired by reading Blink by Malcom Gladwell. He talks about a study where researchers had college students take a personality test. Friends of each participant filled out a form saying what they thought about the participant. Then the researchers had people who didn’t know the participants come into the participant’s rooms while they were gone. After being in their room for 15 minutes they filled out a personality test saying what their impressions about the room’s owner was. The strangers’ impressions were more accurate than the participants’ friends. People who had only seen the participants possessions was able to give a clearer picture than the people who had spent time with the person. This shocks me.

Gretchen Schermerhorn and Megan Mueller, the intern coordinators Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, wanted us to experience having a solo show. Because there wasn’t a traditional exhibition space available in Pyramid, they decided that the next best thing would be the bathroom. Thus Stallspace was born (though it us a while to name it). The idea behind my show in Stallspace was to create a character, but not show a specific image of her, except through her things. I wanted to test how much could be gleaned about a person just by looking at her possessions.

The show as a whole was not very successful. I don’t think I communicated the concept very well (the spaces in the other pieces were too clean to be believable) and the other images in the show were not as strong as this one, but I learned a lot by doing it. I still like the idea behind it, so I might base another series around it.

You can see what the other interns did by clicking here.

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