Rope Series: Alice Vogler

The Present Tense has decided to end our 2011 Rope Series by highlighting a recent work by Alice Vogler.   As many of you know, MEME, the gallery that The Present Tense co-founded in 2009 came to an end in late May.  Vogler was also a co-founder.   She continued to run MEME with Vela Phelan and Dirk Adams after Bradley Benedetti, Philip and I resigned from MEME in June 2010.  Her farewell to the space came in the form of a 24 hour piece.
Vogler began at 7pm on May13th surrounded by a stack of toilet paper, three spools of white mason string and seven white bottles of water.  She wrapped the string around the toilet paper to create a rope.

Norfolk Street visited her throughout the night, peering through the windows and offering her gifts.  This ritual began with the first exhibition held at MEME.  The neighborhood was always eager to participate in what was happening in the space.

Vogler describes the rope that accumulated on the floor as an umbilical cord, connecting her to the space.

She finished constructing the rope around 5:30pm on May 14th.  The rope became a nest that Vogler rested in.  When she woke up, Dirk Adams and Vela Phelan wrapped the rope around MEME while Alison Adams helped Vogler wrap the rest of the rope around her body.  People were invited into the space to witness this action.

After Vogler was encased by the rope, she engaged in a litany of sorts, reciting all of the exhibitions that had taken place at MEME.  MEME showed over 200 artists in its 2 year history, making this an overwhelming task for anyone, especially the sleep deprived.  As Vogler recited the names of the artists and shows, she slowly untangled herself from the rope.  As the rope fell to the floor, it was revealed that the end was tied around Vogler’s waist.  She ends the piece by cutting the rope, releasing MEME.*

Alice Vogler’s work center’s around the physical and mental healing processes that exist in individual’s lives and her own day-to-day life.  She is interested in investigating what heals: the process, that object, or the ritual.  Most recently she has been working with the element of anticipation.  She has been investigating to what extent anticipation changes how time is experienced.  The viewer is always an essential element in her work.

Alice received her Bachelors of Fine Arts form Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland Oregon, and her Masters of Fine Arts form the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tuffs University in Boston Massachusetts.  She co-owned and curated MEME Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 2009-2011. She has shown her work in many performance events over the last 10 years including:  Rough Trade in Chicago, Illinois, LUMEN Festival in Stanton Island, New York, Tremor Festival in Bogotá, Columbia, OPEN in Beijing, China, and Transmuted in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

* The MEME space (55 Norfolk St. in Central Square Cambridge, MA) began as 55 Gallery in 2008 and was passed on to us.  MEME has been passed on to Mobius Artist Group.  The Present Tense looks forward to seeing how the next cycle of this space will manifest.


Back in 2009, Philip and I founded MEME Gallery in Central Square, Cambridge, MA with Dirk Adams, Vela Phelan, Alice Vogler, and Bradley Benedetti. Benedetti and The Present Tense left MEME in June 2010 so that we could devote more time developing our individual and collaborative work, however the little white walled store front has continued to be an active part of our lives.  MEME is now coming to an end, and this Saturday, May 21st Philip and I will be making a performance titled “Archive” at MEME’s official farewell party, MEMEENDS.  Come experience our tribute to the space, our community, and the future!

Rope Series: Peter Dobill

"Inhaler" 2004

"Inhaler" 2004

Brooklyn-based artist and curator, Peter Dobill focuses on the body in action in his work.  Within these actions, he believes that mental and physical planes of existence are created, establishing autonomy in endurance, physical movement, and structure.

“With my body, I alter and construct my vessel of experience, intrinsically connecting and emptying myself to a singular moment and time. Within these moments, I can then seek to communicate, focusing on energy exchanged between the audience and myself.

My practice is two-fold; live public actions performed for an audience and private actions performed for the camera. Both practices operate in complimentary forces, with actions relating in physical, structural, and conceptual intensity.”

"Drum Action" 2007 Rope is used in this piece to bind Dobill's body to the tree. It also is used as a "spirit helmet" to facilitate the mental space to perform for hours within the action.

“I use rope and string because in my mind at least it is a prima materia as an art material, a material without cheesy or intellectual baggage or specific connotations, a simple tool to attach and assemble other materials or used as its own material. In a more practical sense, the inexpensiveness and availability of rope and string make it a simple choice in the art making process, especially in building installations.”

– Peter Dobill

"Gong Ringer" 2010 Rope creates a pulley system in this piece to propel Dobill's body into the gong.

Check out a new action titled “AD UNUM” at MEME gallery this Saturday, May 7th from 7-10 pm as part of an evening dedicated to experimental performance work made by artists living in New York.

Born in New Zealand, Peter Dobill is a Brooklyn, NY based artist. He received his BFA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2004 in addition to receiving the 2008-2009 Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art Grant.

Dobill co-founded and curates the annual Maximum Perception Performance Festival in Brooklyn, NY. He has performed and exhibited in galleries/venues including Exit Art, NY, NY; Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY, Meme Gallery, Cambridge, MA, English Kills Art Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, NurtureArt, Brooklyn, NY; Open Realization Contemporary Art Gallery, Beijing, China, and Rockefeller University, NY, NY.

Giving Thanks for Paul Waddell

Paul Waddell is an artist, a friend, and a force that The Present Tense has had the pleasure of both showing and curating with. Beginning tomorrow, Paul will spend 72 hours at MEME Gallery giving thanks to Boston, Slash, SMFA, snow, and “everything that makes America great”.  He will be attempting to befriend a domesticated Turkey while watching football, making corn, and engaging in other holiday-related absurd activities. In this parody of Joseph Bueys’ famous performance, “I like America and America likes me,” where he lived in a gallery with a wild coyote, Paul will challenge gallery-goers to interact with him.

In preparation for this piece, appropriately titled, “I like Massachusetts and Massachusetts Massachusetts Massachusetts me” The Present Tense is posting an interview that Philip conducted during Paul’s last visit to Boston during the Spring. Enjoy!

Paul Interview from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Farewell to Big Red and Shiny

Last week, Big Red and Shiny, an arts journal that served as a staple in the Boston art scene for the last 6 years, launched their final issue. After providing our community a forum to challenge and create dialogue around the state of the arts in New England, Founder, Matt Nash decided to “close up shop and make way for the next group of motivated artists to build a voice for their community.” Nash points out that Big Red and Shiny had been online a full third of the life of the Internet and lists poignant changes that the Internet has endured through the years. Nash expresses gratitude for the endless art, food, and music blogs that have sifted through content, providing him with the knowledge of “how best to spend the few years I have on this earth”. As I read Nash’s farewell, the worry lines began to subside and I became filled with hope and excitement for the future. In this move to end, Big Red calls upon the creatively minded to meet the challenge of building platforms for one another while simultaneously filtering through the blossoming chaos present in the internet age.

Big Red and Shiny has been crucial to The Present Tense’s evolution. It has been a cheerleader, a source of inspiration, and brain candy for us over the years, publishing interviews about our endeavors, posting our calls, and giving me another platform to publish my writing. In my grieving for the end of one of my favorite Art Journals, I have concluded that it takes courage to end something good to make room for the equally tenacious.

Because the Big Red and Shiny archive is uncertain, check out these Present Tense related posts:

Contaminate 1

Seconds Festival

Contaminate 2

Contaminate 3

Interview with Sandrine & Phil

Revolt2Die @ MEME

Sandrine’s review of The Human Cost of War

Alternative Art Spaces

Sandrine’s Review of X Me Lab

MEME and Mobius, March 2010

Every once in a while the Boston art world aligns and produces a performance art marathon. March saw one of these weekends with Control Y Control Z at MEME, curated by the MEME Team, and Yard Sale at Mobius Curated by Jeff Huckleberry.

Control Y Control Z

Leigh Waldron-Taylor (performed by Daniel DeLuca)

Sylbille Neeve

Sandrine Schaefer

Yard Sale
Patrick Wallace

Vela Phelan

Philip Fryer

Jeff Byrd

Paul Waddell