Virginia Lee Montgomery is an experimental artist moving freely between video, performance, and sculpture, and influenced by materiality, sensorial experiences, and metaphysics. Her work is feminist and latently autobiographical, and is paradoxically conceptual, mysterious, and direct. Her surreal artworks feature recursive symbols including circles, holes, and spheres.
Often performing in her own films, Montgomery works intuitively with her camera, using unexpected props and viscous fluids to choreograph time like a material. Her hand-made, intimate videos reveal insight into liminal space.
HONEY MOON (2018) was performed, produced, and edited by Montgomery, and filmed by the artist in a single, 170-second take within a miniature set, custom-built from black mirror planes. The title is coyly literal and the work itself is straightforward, documenting a real-time, solo performance with simple materials. And yet the effect is dreamlike, with a syrupy slowness that encourages serene contemplation.
In the center of the screen, amidst a dark void, a single hand — left, white, French manicure — holds a glowing model Moon. In two bursts, a second, unseen hand pours honey onto the orb. The viscous, aerated, translucent gold fluid flows over the surface of the Moon and the fingers of the hand, streaming into the darkness below. The fingers seem to react to the experience, moving through the honey and caressing the globe.
“We live in an age that often feels more unreal than real, in which things seem to move faster than we can perceive them. As an artist, I wanted to do something different; I wanted to create a sculptural film that felt material, soothing, and real. The inspiration to hold the Moon came from a dream. There, I touched the Moon and found peace. Times Square moves so fast. HONEY MOON asks that we slow down.”
—Virginia Lee Montgomery
HONEY MOON is presented in partnership with Socrates Sculpture Park in concurrence with Virginia Lee Montgomery’s exhibition in The Socrates Annual, the culminating exhibition of its annual artist fellowship program, for which Montgomery was one of fifteen artists selected through a competitive open-call application process. Her project SWORD IN THE SPHINX will be on view at Socrates as part of the exhibition from October 7, 2018 – March 10, 2019.
“We are thrilled to partner once again with the Alliance to bring one of our Artist Fellows from Socrates Sculpture Park into Times Square. With her distinctly sculptural approach to video, artist Virginia Lee Montgomery is the perfect fit for Midnight Moment. She gives video body and density that is unique during a moment when it spills inconsequentially in and out of our daily lives. Viewing her sculpture and accompanying video on view now at Socrates with HONEY MOON enriches and illuminates Montgomery's evolving alternate feminine mythology.”
—Jess Wilcox, Director of Exhibitions, Socrates Sculpture Park
Virginia Lee Montgomery (b. 1986, Houston, Texas, lives and works in Texas and New York City) received her MFA from Yale University in 2016 and her BFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2008. She is a 2018 Socrates Fellow at Socrates Sculpture Park. Past exhibitions include AN UNBOUND KNOT IN THE WIND, Bard Hessel Museum of Art, NY (2018); CRASH TEST: The Molecular Turn, La Panacée, Montpellier, France (2018); MATERIAL DEVIANCE, SculptureCenter, NY (2017); Things you can’t unthink, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Canada (2016); and Particle Accelerator Memorial Project, Wright Laboratory, Yale University, CT (2015). She has been awarded other residencies at The Carving Studio & Sculpture Center, Wright Laboratory, Coast Time, The Shandaken Project at Storm King, and The Vermont Studio Center. Montgomery was the recipient of Yale University’s Susan H. Wedon Award and the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship Nominee in Sculpture (2016).
Since 1986 Socrates Sculpture Park has been a model of public art production, community activism, and socially inspired place-making. Known for fostering experimental and visionary artworks, the Park has exhibited more than 1,000 artists on its five waterfront acres, providing them financial and material resources and outdoor studio facilities to create large-scale 3 artworks on site. Socrates is free and open to the public 365 days a year from 9am to sunset and is located at the intersection of Broadway and Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, New York.
HONEY MOON is courtesy of the artist and was performed, produced, and edited by Virginia Lee Montgomery.
Photos courtesy of Ka-Man Tse for Times Square Arts.