In Accordion Time, Unfolding

A Pandemic Archive

Ursa Gallery, Bridgeport CT

November 5, 2020 - January 31, 2021

Curated by Alexandra Rutsch Brock and Patricia Miranda

Artists of the London calling Collective: Alexandra Rutsch Brock, Patricia Fabricant, Ellen Hackl Fagan, Katherine Jackson, Patricia Miranda, Josette Urso, Jo Yarrington

The pandemic made visible the domestic sphere, an oft hidden space of both labor and nurture, where women have historically lived, worked, built families and friendships, fought and loved. Recalling the long history of women artist collectives that endures today, the London Calling Collective was born from seven loosely associated artists who traveled to London in October 2019 on a brief art trip. When lock-down came to NYC this inadvertent group of women solidified their connection through Whatsapp and Zoom throughout quarantine and into today. A bond of friendship grew over dozens of messages each day and two Zoom meetings a week, resulting in 25, 564 posts over 3783 WhatsApp pages dating from October 3, 2019 to October 13, 2020. One thousand of these pages currently paper the walls at Ursa Gallery for the exhibition. Information, advice, anxieties, about the pandemic and the world were discussed, along with shared meals, recipes, books, films, artists, exhibitions, art opportunities, things seen out the window, nightly sunsets, politics, protests and actions, first gatherings and personal stories. An unplanned impromptu group led to a tightly knit, strong, intimate, resilient, innovative cohort of women. The London Calling Collective responded to the challenges of the day by building deep friendships and a chosen family.

To add to the pandemic dialogues on Whatsapp, the Collective desired a physical collaboration of their solitary yet shared experience. They designed a project especially for lockdown, in the form of small accordion-fold books that could fit easily into NYC mailboxes and be sent through the postal service. Each book made a stop at each artist’s home, the final covers completed by the last hands to receive them. Through improvisation, overlap, discordance and harmonics, the diverse language of each artist responded to each other’s interventions. The accordion form reflects a complex conversation of time, as it compresses and unfurls, folds and unfolds, refracts and accumulates, parts in a single inextricable whole.

In this exhibition of seven women sheltering in place while remaining connected through the digital space, radical is found in the ties that thread us together. The dialogue flowing between WhatsApp and Zoom, the book collaboration, and the individual works of the artists included in the exhibition, reflect the bonds between these artists as individuals and as a group, as they reimagine community for life during and after a pandemic. The LC Collective reveals once again the power and legacy of women coming together - to forge chosen families, build resilient communities, and conspire for change in an uncertain world.

Patricia Miranda, co-curator

Oct 2020