December 31, 1997 – January 31, 1998
When Jean and I first sat down to discuss using the basement space for an installation, I had several ideas. The opening was set for New Year’s Eve ‘97/’98 and Thea Miklowski had a photography show in the main gallery.
As I thought about the cold winter in Cleveland, of course my thoughts drifted to my favorite comfort food – toast. Anyone who knows me knows about the toaster collection, some may even remember the one I put wheels on and led around as my pet with slices of
shellacked toast in it that my friend Bruce had made. I decided to create my installation on the premise of mass-produced comfort food.
The basement space was equipped with shelving that could pass for cages. I selected several toasters from my collection and lined them up, much like I thought of chickens on an egg farm. To give the place a warm toasty feeling, I covered the entire floor with aluminum foil. One wall was made to look like a conveyor belt with toast traveling down to drop into bread bags on the end.
To complete the installation, I needed to make 100 pieces of shellacked toast. Oh, how I wished for some warmth and comfort when I was working for days on end in the middle of a really cold December with the windows wide open and fans running to dissipate the fumes…
In the end, it was a terrific experience. I think the installation was successful, I got a lot of good feedback at the opening and during the run of the show. The opening was great, fun and well attended, as they always were at the Southside.
Holly A. Wilson