NEW WORKS BY THE LONDON CALLING COLLECTIVE
November 7, 2020 - February 12, 2021
Bridgeport, CT—On November 7, Ursa Gallery will debut In Accordion Time, Unfolding: A Pandemic Archive, a seminal exhibition to coincide with the opening of the 2020 Bridgeport Art Trail. Co-curated by Alexandra Rutsch Brock and Patricia Miranda, the installation-as-environment will feature mail art in the form of poetic accordion-fold books as well as diverse digital dialogues made by the London Calling Collective over the past year.
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—Alexandra Rutsch Brock, Patricia Fabricant, Ellen Hackl Fagan, Katherine Jackson, Patricia Miranda, Josette Urso, and Jo Yarrington—who traveled to London in October 2019 on a brief art trip. When lockdown came to NYC, this inadvertent group of women solidified their connection through WhatsApp and Zoom. In dozens of messages throughout each day and two Zoom meetings a week, throughout quarantine and into today, a bond of friendship grew. The result is 3,783 pages of WhatsApp dating from October 3, 2019, to October 13, 2020—1,000 of which currently paper the walls at Ursa Gallery for this exhibition. Information, advice, and 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 LC 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 included in the exhibition reflects 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.
This exhibition marks the opening of Ursa Gallery, a contemporary art gallery located at the Arcade Mall in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Ursa is founded by Bridgeport-based artist Cris Dam and is conceived in collaboration with Architect, Dustin Malstrom. For more information on Ursa, visit their website at .