RECEPTION: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 6 - 8 pm
8 pm Live Concert ORPHAN
Amy O’Neill (Beaver, PA, 1971; lives in New York) is an artist whose work through installations, drawings, and films, deals with decayed modes of cultural production in the North American landscape.
The title of her new exhibition at the Berlin Space, “The Pilgrim Motel”, prepares the viewer for a pilgrimage into early American puritan culture. The original Pilgrim Motel was located in Salem, Massachusetts, a city known for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
The United States flags in the exhibition hang in altered states. Seams were unfurled to create blanks between the stripes. The flags were purchased from a small flag-making business that allows customers to choose the amount of stars they wish to have on their flags; O’Neill asked for none.
The flags are presented in relation to hand-made quilts that combine the design of the American flag with traditional “bricks and bars” quilting patterns. Like in previous bodies of work, O’Neill collaborated with specialized craftsmen. For this project, she worked with the Amish and Mennonite communities located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Flags and quilts are shown together with a piece realized in 2007 titled the «Burl Grotto» made of wooden burls detached from their trees and hung on the wall. The work takes the role of a sanctuary in the exhibition, acting as the climax of the so-called “pilgrimage.” The deformed and gnarly texture of the burls arouses a feeling somewhere between repulsion and fascination, referring back to the dualities and paradoxes explored by O’Neill in this exhibition.