Week Fifty Two

Boilin’ Boots

Posted in 2007 Archives by sarahbakerhansen on 4 March 2007

by Sarah Baker

Nic Bartlett doesn’t want the shirt off your back. He wants the shoes off your feet. Bartlett, along with fellow artist and curator Rachel Ziegler, are kicking off their shoes, eh, their exhibition with a dance party before the art show even starts.

The Black Shoe Bash and Dance Party is a precursor to the duo’s show, Remainder, which opens in the Bemis Underground March 23.

The artists are asking dance party guests to bring a pair of black shoes as admission, and if you don’t want to give up those old black Doc Marten boots just yet, you can also get in for $5.
This is the second time Bartlett and Ziegler have showed their work together — the first was at a show in 2004 in Seward, Neb.’s Marxhausen Gallery. That show included works vastly different than what will show at the Underground, Bartlett said.

“The show included two very different installation pieces that came from two very different people employing two unique concepts,” he said. “That show was a success and laid the groundwork for a Bemis Underground curatorial collaboration.”

The duo decided to kick off their second collaboration with not just a party, but a dance soiree with live music from Brimstone Howl, The Terminals and Denver-based band The Machine Gun Blues.

Ziegler said she’ll be creating two-dimensional work which will hang on the walls, while Bartlett is doing a site specific, centralized floor installation that will fill a portion of the gallery. He plans to use variations in surface texture, color and lighting to separate his work from Ziegler’s.

“The show won’t fill the Bemis Underground to maximum capacity, but will utilize the space it does use while keeping in mind the peripheral space,” Ziegler said.

And what of the shoes? They’re the main ingredient for Bartlett’s piece. He plans to collect at least 100 pairs of shoes, then will boil them and use the remaining liquid in what he calls a “saline installation.”

“I am using a process of saline evaporation to create works that focus on my own memories,” Bartlett said. “My site-specific installations are part sculpture and part ephemeral interactive performance.”

The two bodies of work will be separated in the space, but there is a tie between the distinctive artistic styles: Both Bartlett and Ziegler plan to use the reductive evaporative process in their pieces.

“We are very different, but we work well as a pair,” Ziegler said. “Personally, I couldn’t think of anyone else that I felt more comfortable showing my work with.”

The Black Shoe Bash & Dance Party is Friday, March 9 at the Bemis Underground, 12th and Leavenworth. The music starts at 9 p.m. Guests can either bring a black pair of shoes to donate or pay $5. For more information, visit bemiscenter.org.

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