For My Neighbor

For My Neighbor“One reason to go to the airport the next time you’ve got nowhere to be is to see Adrienne Outlaw’s video installation For My Neighbor. Outlaw is generally known as a sculptor, but there is a lot going on with this display that has me anxious to see what she’ll do next if she sticks with moving images for a time. The installation consists of four video monitors each playing footage of people’s hands trading and breaking loaves of bread with one another. These nourishing exchanges are shot against backgrounds at Casa Azafran. The international center’s staff and clients pitched in on the project which also features the efforts of students from Glendale Elementary. The videos include a widely diverse display of different hands of men, women and children. The hands are white and black and every shade between. The symbolism here is so on the nose one hesitates to use the word “symbol” at all, but the shots and editing take repetitious, rather cliché and sentimental imagery, and make it feel immediate and and even a little insistent. I love the way the screens are arranged like place-settings at a table and I suppose there’s no limit to the number of times humans need to be reminded to act more like family.” –Excerpt from Joe Nolan’s review in ArtsNash, April 3, 2014.

I broke bread with 100 people for this work. It first showed as a 4 channel video installation at the Nashville International Airport. I expanded it into a 9 channel installation for the Parthenon Museum and Centennial Park. For that work I added documentation of ongoing projects that I and other artists contributed to FLEX IT! My Body My Temple, a social practice show I organized for the Parthenon Museum and Centennial Park. For future viewings, I edited the original footage into a single channel video titled For My Neighbor in Shades of Gray.

SO_JOa“The revival of sociality that is often lost in the excitement of contemporary society is the purpose of the video by Adrienne Outlaw, who invites us to observe and to give importance to thos gestures corresponding to ancient and primal needs joined by mankind, like the sharing of food.” — Excerpt of critical comments by Abramo ‘Tepes’ Montini for Future Behind exhibition catalog, August 25, 2015

For My Neighbor, In Shades of Gray is projected onto the naked wall opposite Stacked, and shows a series of video clips of three kinds: the kneading of bread dough, the passing of whole rolls, loaves, and pieces of bread, and the breaking of breads that have been extended. Hands of all kinds appear: the young, gooey, inexpert hands of children beating bread dough down, as well as more aged and skilled adult hands – both male and female – extending both torn pieces and whole loaves of bread. These are handed over, interestingly and almost invariably, in cradled palms, as though the bread were liquid and precious. The bread is then placed gently and tactilely into the recipient’s cupped, outstretched hands, always paired. The breaking of bread proffered is also a double-fisted affair, where the taker uses both hands and pinches the bread off, center screen.” — Excerpt from Naomi Ruth Pitamber’s text for Slices exhibit, University of Wyoming, 9/2016