Calling on All Silent Minorities
- Stefana McClure
poetry-wrapped stones, 2020.
Calling on All Silent Minorities
WHEREVER YOU ARE
WE NEED TO HAVE THIS MEETING
AT THIS TREE
AIN’ EVEN BEEN
The protest stones take the form of two text-wrapped stones, one for each pocket, ready to be thrown. Many of the poems for the early works were taken from Seamus Heaney’s anthology North, first published in 1975, where he addresses the theme of the “troubles” in Northern Ireland head-on for the first time. Faced with irrational bigotry and hostility in the six counties, many of the poems describe a way of Catholics “getting by”. The stones came from our backyard in Brooklyn, and, after they were wrapped with text, had the edges knocked off them by being hurled at the stone walls of our Dean Street basement. The hope is that the words of the poems gain literal weight and even the anticipation of action and violence from their supports. As Heaney put it, these works strive to “grant the religious intensity of the violence its deplorable authenticity and complexity.”
More recently I have returned to the work of Audre Lorde, who wrote that “poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.” Poetry, she said, is how we name the nameless. “It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.”
Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, in 1959, Stefana McClure received her BA from Hornsey College of Art in London and continued her studies at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York (2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2018); Bartha Contemporary, London (2009, 2013, 2017); Sleeper, Edinburgh, Scotland (2017); Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2015); Dublin Contemporary, Dublin, Ireland (2011) and Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim, Neuenhaus, Germany (2006). McClure has also been included in numerous museum exhibitions, most recently Useless: Art Machines for Dreaming, Thinking, and Seeing, curated by Gerardo Mosquera, at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, NY, White Covers, curated by Carine Fol, Frédéric de Goldschmidt Collection, Centrale Brussels (2018); The Times, The Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY (2017); Format: 35 Jahre Sammlung Scroth, Raum Scroth, Museum Wilhelm Morgner, Soest, Germany (2017); Cut Up/Cut Out, Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA (2017); Deep Cuts: Contemporary Paper Cutting, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH (2017); Die Frick Kollektion: works from the Kunstsammlung Mezzanin, Liechtenstein, curated by Arno Egger, Kunst Palais Liechtenstein, Feldkirch, Austria (2017); Cut Up/Cut Out, Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA (2016); Art=Text=Art: Private Languages/Public Systems, UB Anderson Gallery, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (2014); Simply Drawn: Gifts to the Columbus Museum from the Collection of Wynn Kramarsky, Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia; Contemporary Monochromes, Contemporary Galleries, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Drawn/Taped/Burned: Abstraction on Paper at the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY (2011); Wünsche und Erwerbungen, Zeitgenössische Zeichnung, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2010); ALL OVER THE MAP, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI (2009); BLOWN AWAY, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (2008); and Uncoordinated: Mapping Cartography in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH (2008). Her work is included in many public collections including: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; and Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Das Kleine Museum, Weissenstadt, Germany; Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; The Machida City International Print Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Mezzanin Stiftung für Kunst, Schaan, Lichtenstein; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR and Stiftung Konzeptuelle Kunst, Soest, Germany.
Featured Works 1-5 are: Calling on All Silent Minorities: a poem by June Jordan, 2 poetry-wrapped stones, left stone: 3 x 4.5 x 3.5 inches, right stone: 2.5 x 4 x 2 inches; No: a poem by Emily Dickinson, 2 poetry-wrapped stones, left stone: 5 x 5 x 3 inches, right stone: 4 x 5 x 2 inches; Protest: a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 2 poetry-wrapped stones, left stone: 3.5 x 5 x 2 inches, right stone: 4 x 5 x 1.5 inches; Riot: a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, 2 poetry-wrapped stones, left stone: 4 x 5 x 3 inches, right stone: 3 x 5 x 3 inches, 2020; A Woman Speaks: a poem by Audre Lorde, 2 poetry-wrapped stones, left stone: 3 x 5 x 2 inches, right stone: 3.5 x 4.5 x 2 inches, 2020.