MIT has made available the discussion between Frances Stark and João Ribas, curator of MIT’s List Visual Arts Center.
Frances Stark: This could become a gimick [sic] or an honest articulation of the workings of the mind, is the first U.S. museum survey of the work of Los Angeles artist and writer, Frances Stark (b. 1967, Newport Beach, California). For over two decades, Stark has laid bare the creative act in all its tedium and enchantment. With distinctive wit and candor, her expressly personal language reflects an interest in the relationship between art, literature, and everyday life. As a writer and artist, Stark proposes that the creative self is a performance, what she calls “a torment of follies” riddled with self-doubt and speculation—and the occasional moment of transcendence. Language, as both subject matter and material, has been a central theme in the artist’s work. The elliptical style that typifies her writing is echoed in an often text-based artistic practice; along with clusters of typewritten letters, Stark employs literary fragments from a wide variety of sources, from Emily Dickinson to pop music. With an abiding interest in the interplay between image and text, Stark’s iconography also incorporates elements drawn from her personal and professional life. Her intricately textured collages reflect a concern with the tactile, intimate, and handmade, while wryly addressing the gender roles associated with professional and domestic spaces such as the artist’s studio. While describing an attempt to render the poetic from the mundane, Stark’s work also reflects a poignant search for the “kind of ‘liberation’ I—as a woman, artist, teacher, mother, ex-wife—am really after.”