When Things Fall Apart; an exercise in letting go 

  ·  Marissa Neuman
when things fall apartIn a material world fixated on objects and possession, process based artists pose an immediate threat to our desire to make everything last for eternity. Over the last month Stacia Yeapanis has occupied the Lillstreet Gallery Annex where she created an organism that grows by the minute.
The beast, the landscape, or, to say it more simply, the form is made up of thousands of cut images stolen from magazines. Its mass sprawls across each wall of the space, unfolding a world made of cheeseburgers, yoga balls, sports cars and all products that clever marketing ploys dangle in front of our desire. The space culminates in images that are apart of our collective bank of cultural signage and language. Stacia’s installation poses the question “what do we want and why do we want that?,” and more importantly "what end do these consumable products serve?”  In short, I think these disposable goods satisfy some need, necessary or not, that serves a sense of momentary satisfaction that leaves us wanting more.
 
The kicker here is that all of these tiny pieces of paper, held together by t-pins will immediately come down following the closing of the show. In fact, for the first time ever Stacia has invited the public to participate in the grand finale, and endure the pain of breaking down the monumental artwork. Stacia will direct participants to identify a part or moment of the collage they feel particularly drawn to and start dismantling it there.
 
As an art educator I found this sentiment particularly interesting and relevant in conversation about the value of art as an experience rather than a final product to have and to hold until our eventual passing. When organizing programming, institutions often insist that students make and take home the objects they create. As a maker and lover of objects I do not deny the value of being able to craft something well and the pride I feel when I place it on my mantle. However, I question promoting a culture that is already obsessed with possession and permanence.
 
Through the lens of ArtReach I see the tremendous achievement and skills developed when students have to work collaboratively on a group mural, or the creative freedom they feel when they make something they know will fall apart as soon as they move it.
 
In the case of Stacia’s show, When Things Fall Aparther work is a collective exercise in the process of letting go and celebrating the cycle of death and rebirth. Situated in the gallery of an art center touted for their ceramic practices, Stacia’s show confronts the permanence associated with the history of clay and challenges viewers to commit their experience to memory.