Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Art of Target Practice

UPDATE: The Target Practice Project now has its very own blog, where the work of participating artists will be featured. You can follow along here:
While other kids were out doing social pre-teen things, I was being dragged around an archery trail or instructed how to man a fishing rod stuffed into a sand spike. Such is the life of a daughter of a sportsman. Of course there were other things I would much rather have been doing, but those things didn't matter and certainly nobody ever asked me about them. And I had learned at a much younger age not even to bring them up. This is because a parent afflicted with narcissism doesn't mirror back the child to the child as is desirable and normal, so what the child wants or needs simply doesn't matter. No, to a narcissistic parent, the child IS the mirror, reflecting back the parent's own issues and interests, in this case, bows and arrows, guns, fishing and camping gear, and boats.

Me in impossible shoes at the archery range at Ferry Point Park, Bronx, New York

My father left behind all this stuff when he passed away, at 90, in June of this year, but it was the tall stack of 1960s archery targets from Sears Roebuck, hidden behind some ancient fish coolers in the garage, that got my attention. As a collagist, I am always on the lookout for old paper with interesting patterns. Still, I didn't grab the targets right away. Instead, over the next several weeks I entered into a polite hands-off relationship with them, where I would nod in their direction as I entered and exited my father's house to perform my clean-out chores. Under self-scrutiny, I see that my relationship to the targets is not unlike the adult relationship I had with my father, especially in respect to my artwork, which he never once asked to see or even noticed on the walls of my home. Just as my pre-teen essence was irrelevant to my father, so was my adult essence. My father died without ever acknowledging even a single product of my heart, spirit, or hand.
Archery targets, vintage 1960s, from Sears, Roebuck & Co.
But now I had these targets, and something grand in me wanted to make the two divergent threads—one of my artwork, one of my father—intertwine. You could say that I saw redemption in the crosshairs. Time was offering me an opportunity to create a congruence that had not existed in my life, and so I pulled back the metaphorical bow string and shot the arrow. I snapped some photos of the pile of targets, posted them on Facebook, and put out a call to my artist friends both here in the States and internationally. Who wanted to collage some targets? I started a group on Facebook, called “Target Practice,” where people could post their work. Within a few days I had mailed out almost 150 targets. Finished target collages have already started to roll back in. It is amazing what artists are doing with them.
Targets on their way out the door
These aren't memorials to the past, just enchantment in the present. This gives me comfort and great hope.

You can link to the Facebook group here, but for now here's a look at some of the great work that's already been posted. Stay tuned for an update as more work arrives.

Up Urz - "Culture Kill - Season 13 :: Attack of the 50 Foot Target"

Michael Harford

Isabel Reitemeyer

Carolina Chocron - "Woody...rescue
me,  sweetheart!"

Terry R. Flowers - "No. 2"

Kacper h. Kiec  - "Bullet Man"

Isabelle Thibault Jolin - Wheel of Fortune

Peggy Despres

Denise Giardullo - "Beauty is in the Eye of
the Beholder"

Richard Leach - "may vary"

Walter Brandtner

Magda Dudziak

Musta Fior - "Double Brain Girls"

Mara Thompson
Fred Free - "Good-By"
Audrey Smith - "Bloom"
David Huff - "The Medium is the Message"
Marcela Perez Joyas Textiles -"Let's
Go Girls!"
Cory Peeke - "On the Hunt...Brought
To You By Sears"


Laura Tringali Holmes - "Wheel of Fortune"


Nestow Sakaczbia - "To Be Or Not To Be"

Denise Aumick
Michael Church - "Cut"
Andrew Lundwall

John Andrew Dixon - "Friday, 1963"

Stephen Boyling - "Target America"

Amy Duncan - assemblage

Robert Tucker - "Blare"


Jan Willem Kouwen
Zach Collins

Nikki Soppelsa
Nadja Voss - "Destiny"
Ana Gabino Gabino - "Sin Corazon"

Kathrin Diestel - "A Statement"
Matt Taggart
Laura Tringali Holmes - "Wing Nut"
Carl Heyward
Andrew Lundwall
Charlotte Dora
Dianne Hoffman - Spellbound

Ted Tollefson

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