Beverly Semmes

WS-Beverly Semmes, "Watching Her Feat" Exhibition View
Beverly Semmes, with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, Watching Her Feat (exhibition view), 2000. Fabric, polyester filling and attendant. Installation dimensions variable. Collection of the artist. Photo Credit: Aaron Igler.

After creating a first residency project with FWM in 1997—a mechanized, gigantic black cat made from crushed velvet, called RISEANDFALL—Beverly Semmes returned in 2000 to investigate a new form and material. Entitled Watching Her Feat, the dominant visual cue in this installation and exhibition of the same name is the color of bright, fluorescent yellow.

Sewn from rip-stop nylon and stuffed with biodegradable peanuts, the forms of Watching Her Feat are gigantic mounds made from overlapping and wound tubes of yellow fabric. A window to the outdoors is covered with red translucent fabric tubes, and the interplay of the warm glow of the red against the sensory-overload of the fluorescent yellow creates a total environment of color. An attendant, dressed in the same electric fabric, sits in a single chair in the middle of the installation of feces-like mountains, adding one interpretation to the mysterious title: perhaps a stand-in for the artist herself, the attendant keeps watch over Semmes’ creative feat.

Semmes exhibited this fabric installation in conjunction with a series of videos, which offered a visual pun to the show’s title through their literal portrayal of the artist’s feet shot from her own vantage point. Filmed in different settings and with various manipulations to her feet (band-aids in one, Vaseline in another), the videos depict the artist watching her feet as they traverse water, walk along boards of a deck, or make their way through pools of purple fabric.

Artist Bio

American, born 1958.