CUT COPY SPHINX, 2018. 4k Digital video, 03:30 min. Courtesy of the artist.
Alumna Virginia Lee Montgomery (BFA in Studio Art, 2008) is featured among 15 artists selected for The Socrates Annual, the culminating exhibition of a fellowship program presented by Socrates Sculpture Park. The 2018 participating artists join the ranks of over 280 artists who have received fellowships, including past fellows Sable Elyse Smith (2016), David Brooks (2010), Heather Hart (2006), and Peter Coffin (2002).
Montgomery presents Sword in the Sphinx, a resin-cast copy of a popular garden sculpture of Madame de Pompadour, a member of the 18th century French court, embedded with an artist-smithed sword. A companion video, CUT COPY SPHINX, viewable on the Park’s website, expands on the piece’s themes of myth, reproduction, destruction, power and ambiguity.
In a preview with Art in America, Wendy Vogel wrote:
A video for the park’s website dramatizes how an eighteenth-century sculpture of Madame de Pompadour as a sphinx, the authorship of which is disputed, has been copied for centuries in decor and knickknacks. A response to the #MeToo movement, Montgomery’s work upends the masculine bravado of the tales of King Arthur and Oedipus. "In the myth, Oedipus kills the sphinx," Montgomery says, "but in my version she just keeps replicating.
The Socrates Annual and Sword in the Sphinx will be on view at Socrates Sculpture Park from October 7, 2018 - March 24, 2019. CUT COPY SPHINX and other videos from Montgomery's oeuvre will also make an appearance in the New Museum's Screen Series, organized by New Museum Curatorial Assistant Kate Wiener, from January 8 - March 3, 2019.
Upcoming projects for Montgomery include the presentation of HONEY MOON for the Times Square Arts' Midnight Moment series, the largest and longest-running digital art exhibition screened nightly across billboards in New York's Times Square from 11:57pm to midnight. HONEY MOON 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.
"We live in an age that often feels more unreal than real, in which things seem to move faster than we can perceive them," writes Montgomery about the project. "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."