The Astronaut 1996
Katy Schimert’s alchemical abstract narrative The Astronaut 1996 a short 16mm black and white film with color inserts follows two characters, Dracula and The Astronaut (exhibited here as a digital projection on a repeating loop). Both young men mysteriously roam the frozen surface of Lake Erie, which in its ice-laden state resembles the barren surface of the moon or an unknown planet. The Astronaut partakes in a somnambulist walkabout eventually crossing paths with Dracula, meeting in space but not in time. The film functions as both a drawing and a sculptural container engaged within a landscape, a bricolage of fluids, of ice and blood, the two men are led by her gaze, the artist, director, their lover Katy Schimert.
Three framed letters typed from Katy to Dracula, Mr. Armstrong and a Drowned Man, adorn the opposite wall of the gallery across from the projected film. Intimate whispers of their epic romance, the letters mediate the visual performative elements of the film, and the language of her interior narrative. Captured in an ephemeral glimpse, allowing us to read her love letters, we the viewers indulge.
Hidden from primary view in the gallery's nook space and pinned to the wall are a series of drawings that function as map keys, diagraming and comparing elements of the film and love letters, charting her various narrative motifs. The evolving love triangle collapses into a red velvet birthday cake, cycles of the moon apparent, meanwhile Dracula pursues his bloody fluids. An additional series of gestural figurative works on paper complete the installation, these whimsical painted emulations expand Katy’s folly and submersion into the transmutation and entropy of her landscape.
The moon landing, Ophelia, the death drive of the prodigal son, swirl with the longing of an artist’s desire to carve out her voice, to create new vocabularies in the making of; The Astronaut 1996. Her explicit use of narrative becomes a tool, a window into the actual proposal of art making. Her film, the letters, and works on paper chart a love story, one seeped in the imagination of a young female artist and her projected muses.
Black Ball Projects is pleased to offer a view into this early and rarely seen body of work by Katy Schimert.
“I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.” ― Bram Stoker, Dracula