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Press Release


Note to Self


performance: September 2, 2005

September 9 - October 22, 2005


Conner Contemporary Art is pleased to present Note to Self, an endurance performance by Mary Coble, an exceptional young artist who received her MFA from The George Washington University last year. For her solo debut, Coble will stage a live performance in which over one hundred names of murdered GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gendered) hate-crime victims will be continuously inscribed all over her body, using a tattooing needle without ink. The action will continue for an estimated period of eight hours, beginning at 6pm on Friday, September 2nd. The gallery will be open to public viewers until 8pm that evening. The entire event will be webcast live. Throughout the performance contact blood prints will be made on paper after the tattooing of each name. An exhibition of the prints and performance documentation will then be on view from September 9 – October 22, 2005 (gallery 2).


 This performance represents the culmination of over a year of primary research by the artist, who sums up challenges she faced compiling the information for this project as follows:


              I mistakenly started this search thinking that the easy part would

be finding…information on GLBT individuals who were murdered.

After searching through organizations, both governmental and

non-profit, I found that this information is not out there. There is

no one group who watches and keeps track of this kind of crime.


During the project’s discovery phase Coble experienced a disturbing revelation that informed the methodology of her performance. She explains:


In hate crimes against the GLBT community words carved into the

victim’s body was somewhat of a common occurrence in comparison

with hate crimes committed against other groups of people. Words

like “faggot” and “dyke” were left in the individual’s skin as a nauseating

marker of why these individuals were killed. I have made the choice to

amass the names of these victims and have them etched into my skin

as a parallel to this gruesome tactic.


The integrity of Coble’s conceptualization of the problem she so boldly addressed, the authority of her careful documentation, and the valid urgency of the social critique she structured imbue this project with tremendous artistic power. 




Homo Bulla (man is a bubble)


September 9 - October 22, 2005


Conner Contemporary Art is pleased to introduce Julee Holcombe, an outstanding young artist who received her MFA last year from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. In Homo Bulla (man is a bubble), her first one-artist exhibition, Holcombe presents an extraordinary new series of photographs that are smart, beautiful and rich in meaning. 


For this series, the artist digitally manipulated her contemporary photographic images to create elegant compositions with exacting visual and iconographic details evocative of the style and spirit of Renaissance master paintings.  She employed the pictorial format of portraiture to elaborate on the theme of the transience of human life. Holcombe instilled psychic tension in each of these pictures by embedding her temporal subjects within timeless cultural frameworks.


In the work after which she named the series, Homo Bulla (man is a bubble), 2005, two children blowing bubbles are posed next to a table containing familiar objects charged with meaning, including an hourglass and an extinguished candle. The immediacy of the children’s portraits conjoined with the fragility of the bubbles and the finality of the hourglass and smoking candle convey that youth is fleeting. Yet the classic symbols selected by the artist, and the age-old certainty of their import, profoundly bespeak the permanence of cultural conventions that have been codified in artistic symbolism.


Holcombe received the Portland Biennial Prize in spring 2005. Her work was featured in London at the 2004 Scope art Holcombe’s work will be shown at the Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden, Germany, in the Fall 2005.


There will be a reception for the artist Friday, September 9, 2005 : 6-8pm.