Beth Fiedorek - Gratitude Girl: Love Number

Index of forms:

Lock, tree, crab pot, artery, tube, liquid, flame, straw, net, wallpaper, ants, “animals,” “the beyond,” “escape”

Kids have a certain access to the inner material stink of things. A certain set of habits, the handwriting of markers slowly drying out and the crumble of lunch on the page, a light smear of grease on the implements. This is the holy work of appreciation.

As a kid I used to drive with my friend’s family to the eastern shore of Maryland. The car reeking from last year’s fishing tackle, and the crab-pots -- chicken wire cubes for netting something alive. The windows wide open all the way down the highway and the air making quite a racket we could only shout over. We’d stay for a week and see what we could catch.

I used to think that terror was about not knowing what was beyond, behind. Now I know that terror is forgetting surfaces. Is ignoring what fingers do, what marks they leave when they press.

I’m talking about the feeling of watching deleted scenes from The Wizard of Oz. The camerawork is blurry and it feels like you’re watching footage smuggled out of a concentration camp, but the trees are alive and also they have people inside of them. The trees are frightened, the trees are just trying to dance. The trees are licking and shaking like flames.

One way of putting the question:

If the world is a net, how do we escape?

At the water parks we didn’t realize we were careening splashing and yelping down our own arteries and veins. What is inside is now out. When you can’t scrub the goopy lens of our culture’s seeing, one option is to surrender to it.

-Agnes Borinsky

Beth Fiedorek (b. 1986, St. Louis) uses painting and ceramic to explore ideas about values in the United States. She received an MFA from CalArts and a BA from Yale University, and she has exhibited her work at ArtCenter DTLA, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and Crane Arts Philadelphia, among other places. Gratitude Girl began as a zine in 2010.

Thank you Coffee Kang for the documentation