April 17, 2009 – June 14, 2009

Rae Goodwin’s work in performance, photography, and sculpture examines aspects of family history as it influences the construction of her identity, as well as gender-based assumptions about freedom, the unknown, and nature.

One project originated in a childhood photograph of the artist’s grandmother on the day of her adoption. Goodwin wrote: “I did not know my grandmother; she died before I was born. The first time I saw a photo of her I was in my early thirties, and I began to wonder who she was and how I belonged to her.” Using the imagery of the photograph, Goodwin developed a family journey that incorporated the creation of an adult-sized version of a child’s formal outfit, and travel (with her father) to various homes in the New England and Connecticut area for portrait sessions that combined the past and present, and re-formed family dynamics.

In displaced, 2009, Goodwin set up a homey tableau (with altered chairs, a rocking table, and various fabrics), for intimate conversations with gallery visitors about their grandmothers. During the exhibition opening, the artist sat and asked people questions, writing down their stories or memories. Throughout the run of the exhibition, people were encouraged to sit in a chair and write their own recollections.

trying to fit, 2009, was an installation that featured imagery from Goodwin’s family album and photographs of her wearing a dress based on her grandmother’s adoption outfit. The dress was constructed with fabric from childhood pillowcases and sections of the artist’s wedding dress, and was worn by Goodwin as she stands in front of the doorways of symbolic locations where she has lived. Hanging these photos on chains at precise angles in relationship to others from a historical album, raised questions about how one negotiates their own family dynamics, legacies, and identity.

Goodwin often hikes alone in the Kentucky mountains. Telling fellow citizens of this activity prompted various advice and concern for her safety. Receiving over 130 detailed suggestions at a local festival led her to orchestrate a specific hike which is documented in “I refuse to hike this way!”, 2008-2009, and included photographs, notes, and video. Her 5’4” body is weighted down with layers of clothes, snake bite and first aid kits, water, guns and knives. These items, plus a guide, friends, and numerous dogs comically transform her desire for quiet contemplation in the woods.

Rae Goodwin lives and works in Pikeville, KY. She has participated in exhibitions at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC; and Hart-Witzen Gallery and McColl Center for Visual Art, both in Charlotte, NC. She has lectured at the Tri-State Sculptors conference in Johnson City, TN, and at the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC.

Relativity was funded in part by a generous donation from the Women’s Caucus for Art of Georgia.

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