The ongoing series The Labor of Her Body // The Work of Her Hands explores the philosophy of work and examines the difference between task and labor. I am looking at this in a literal sense (images of sheep shearers) as well as through a more abstract, often feminist lens. I explore the universality of repetitive task through image repetition and mirror images making the composition an abstracted reflection of the theme. Identically uniformed, worker’s hands move in sync, producing consistent, precise outcomes. In some cases, through color and shape, I evoke the female sensibility as applied to manual labor and traditionally masculine industries. Whether shearing sheep, breaking down duck or marching into war, uniformity is essential. Although the success of a worker's effort is defined by its precision and invariability, the spirit and desires of the worker remains unique.
I see my native Bay Area strung between the ubiquitous technology sector and a revived interest in handwork. In the future, might “work” be performed only by machines while humans perform “labor” as a form of leisure? Will craftsmanship be valued only for its aesthetic qualities and not for its usefulness? These are questions that I want my work to ask and for the viewer to engage in answering.
This selection of paintings also focuses on my growing awareness of the silent, unacknowledged, often incidental work that I’ve experienced and also witnessed the women in my life do, constantly. There is a female sense of urgency, of responsibility, of bondage that insists we maintain momentum and forward pressure no matter the context. There is no name for it, small concrete evidence of it. However, there is joy, ease, playfulness and efficiency that comes from women working together. By fostering instead of suppressing these instinctual approaches, in every facet of life, we can begin to rebuild the social construct that is currently bisected by a gender-normative chasm.
I use my painting as a way to realize the creative potential of the unconscious mind. My drawings act as a filter between my eye and my subconscious, bridging the gap between what I take in visually and what I later put down on the canvas. I simplify shape and form in an attempt for the viewer to, on one level, acknowledge the subject or idea that I am exploring but on another level the simplification adds importance to composition, plane, color and mood.
My current project is as a guest curator at The Midway Gallery in San Francisco, working on an exhibition titled Rhizosphere: Celebrating West Marin’s artists & creative legacy from 1960- today. This unique survey of artists working in West Marin includes works by J.B. Blunk, Clayton Lewis, Inez Storer and Ido Yoshimoto as well as the artists of Pt. Reyes Station landmark, Gallery Route One. The show highlights the effects of a shared environment on this rural arts community and the vibrancy that exists alongside the hiking, vistas and gastronomy of the area. Through photo, fiber art, painting, wood cut and sculpture, I transport to San Francisco the distinct moisture, wind, slant of light, dusting of chipped paint on the seat of ones pants that gives West Marin that particular, intangible romance and bond with nature while remaining contemporary and relevant to the international conversation. Additionally, my choice of artists bridges the generational gap between the art community elders, many of whom relocated to West Marin in the 60’s and 70’s, (with work both current and posthumous) and a group of emerging artists, either born in the area or drawn to it, who struggle to find affordable housing, studio space and jobs. The symbiosis between generations and the continued support of the greater Bay Area is vital to the protection of an artistic future in precious West Marin. The show’s title, Rhizosphere, refers to the part of the soil ecosystem that is directly influenced by root secretions and microorganisms. Hockenos draws connections between this narrow region of soil and the creative legacy, both past and future, of West Marin.
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Isis is influenced by the wind and the salt and the craggy shores of her native Northern California coast, while being inspired too by the urban angles of the cities in which she has lived. Isis studied visual arts and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, NY and printmaking at Fondazione Il Bisonte in Florence, Italy. Isis is currently a Young Artist Fellow at Gallery Route One, Pt. Reyes Station, CA and a Resident Artist at The Midway Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Isis has exhibited locally and internationally including at Vorres Gallery, San Francisco, Sandra Lee Gallery, San Francisco, Gallery Route One, Pt. Reyes Station, Sagan Piechota Architecture, San Francisco, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, and at Galleri Oxholm, Copenhagen, DK. Rhizosphere is Isis’ first curatorial project in San Francisco.