1996; MEBD; Catalogue Essay

IN 1996 CONSTANCE SHORT had an exhibition entitled: JUMPIN’ THE BORDER in SOHO 20, BROOM ST., NEW YORK curated by writer, independent curator and art critic MEDB RUANE
In the USA this exhibition traveled to Boston Fairfield Connecticut, then on to Germany, The Chez Republic, throughout Ireland and finally to London.

The following is MEDB’s catalogue statement;


Short’s work interests me because it brings together two lines of investigation now under scrutiny by a range of artists: the “reclamation of the body”, as part of the developing debate on issues of identity and otherness, and the “reclamation of pre-industrial processes of printmaking” as part of a hands-on response to the glitzier techniques of video and the superhighway.

Short’s “body work” directs its energy to the spare lines of human form, particularly as that form moves through the processes of dance. The body’s integrity is maintained as a first base against which composition is measured and from which its development grows. Central to this process is the gradual build up of movement through repetition and patterning. Dance has given the most interesting work in performance art since the eighties; I like reading these works with reference to the integrity and balance of that discipline.

The possibilities of “printmaking” provoked a cultural revolution in the late middle ages perhaps even greater than the impact of video in the last century. In Short’s prints I see an economical use of the process subordinated to the images and themes of her wider mission. The fact that this is a pre-industrial process and thus able to refer to the cultural context within which women work, and have always worked, creates for me a rich parallel with the subject matter discussed above.

Short’s prints operate a single narrative quality which subverts itself in the nick of time by resisting any single storyline. Are these works about gender, about personal identity, about fragmentation? The viewer becomes the ultimate storyteller. Short offers us access to our own insights and responsibilities.