WATER WITCHING (Video) with HEAD STONE (Sculpture) in the exhibition An Unbound Knot in the Wind, Hessel Museum of Art
2018, Installation, Dimensions variable
Virginia Lee Montgomery (VLM) is an artist working between Austin, Texas and New York, NY, USA, primarily in video, performance, sound, and sculpture. She received her BFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and her MFA from Yale University in Sculpture in 2016. Her artwork is a research practice of feminist metaphysics. VLM interrogates the complex relationship between physical and psychic structures. VLM also works as a professional scribe, a Graphic Facilitator. In her artwork, VLM turns her professional skill-set, "mind map scribing", inwards to render the contours of her subconscious and open portals into unknown psychic realms. She has had solo exhibitions with New Museum, Times Square Arts, Museum Folkwang, Wright Lab at Yale University, and The Lawndale Art Center. She has exhibited internationally at institutions including SculptureCenter, La Panacee-MoCo, The Hessel Museum at Bard College, The Banff Centre, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Shaker Museum, and The Menil Collection, among others.
I'm VLM, Virginia Lee Montgomery, a video artist, sound artist, sculptor, and professional mind-map scribe. In my work as a fine artist, I turn my skillset of "mind map scribing" inwards to render my own dreams. The output is art: a psychic terrain of revolving drills, digital glitches, prodding digits, and dripping liquids which together congeal, and reveal, a portal into the symbolic unknown.
As an artist, I map the boundary between thing and theory. To answer this metaphysical question, I cast an array of non-human collaborators in my artwork from ponytails to pastries, syrups, stones, moths, and machines. Next, I expand my query. I set my camera to document our unexpected choreographies and encourage new perspectives on empathy. My most recent video artworks interweave themes of psychology, entomology, and awakening. (In this particularly chaotic cultural era, it brings me great happiness to raise, film, and release native moths and butterflies in the name of video art!) This choice is intentional. Butterflies are symbols of rebirth and moths are symbols of dreams. In my artwork, all protagonists - moth, human, or machine - use their bodies as apparatuses for agency. Even the power tools I film assume a yonic quest as each bores a holes into filmic space. In my art, a core symbolic vocabulary of circles, spheres, and holes circulate. This is also intentional. Philosophically, I believe that every hole is a portal for something hopeful to appear.
In the studio, the ethics behind how an artwork is made is just as important to me as the final artwork itself. It is important to me that every aspect of my own artwork - from conceptual planning to physical production - is by my own hand. This includes every step in the creation of a stone sculpture - cutting, carving, polishing, or the crafting of a video artwork - storyboarding, directing, filming, editing, sound recording, and scoring. I believe one's own labor is what imbues a heartfelt aura within an artwork. My artwork is characterized by an active ethos of empathy, witchy energy, and a feminist impulse to blur, bend, and ask, "What is reality and can I penetrate it with a Dewalt drill?" Whether it's raising luna moths, traveling on business trips with a 3ft ponytail stashed in my suitcase, recording rainstorms, filming fingers, or carving marble ponytails - my movements reveal the surreal working relationship between physical and psychic structures.