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Watching Her Feat, 2000 (detail). Fabric, polyester filling, and attendant. Dimensions vary with installation. Collection of the artist. Watching Her Feat, 2000 (detail). Fabric, polyester filling, and attendant. Dimensions vary with installation. Collection of the artist. Watching Her Feat, 2000 (detail). Fabric, polyester filling, and attendant. Dimensions vary with installation. Collection of the artist.
Watching Her Feat, 2000 (detail). Fabric, polyester filling, and attendant. Dimensions vary with installation. Collection of the artist.
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Watching Her Feat, 2000 (detail). Fabric, polyester filling, and attendant. Dimensions vary with installation. Collection of the artist.
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Watching Her Feat, 2000 (detail). Fabric, polyester filling, and attendant. Dimensions vary with installation. Collection of the artist.
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Beverly Semmes

After creating a first residency project with the FWM in 1997—a mechanized, gigantic black cat made from crushed velvet, called RISEANDFALL—Beverly Semmes returned in 2000 to investigate a new form and material. Entitled Watching Her Feat, the dominant visual cue in this installation and exhibition of the same name is the color of bright, fluorescent yellow.

Sewn from rip-stop nylon and stuffed with biodegradable peanuts, the forms of Watching Her Feat are gigantic mounds made from overlapping and wound tubes of yellow fabric. A window to the outdoors is covered with red translucent fabric tubes, and the interplay of the warm glow of the red against the sensor y-overload of the fluorescent yellow creates a total environment of color. An attendant, dressed in the same electric fabric, sits in a single chair in the middle of the installation of feces-like mountains, adding one interpretation to the mysterious title: perhaps a stand-in for the artist herself, the attendant keeps watch over Semmes’ creative feat.
 
Semmes exhibited this fabric installation in conjunction with a series of videos, which offered a visual pun to the show’s title through their literal portrayal of the artist’s feet shot from her own vantage point. Filmed in different settings and with various manipulations to her feet (band-aids in one, Vaseline in another), the videos depict the artist watching her feet as they traverse water, walk along boards of a deck, or make their way through pools of purple fabric.

Bio
American, lives in New York City
Beverly Semmes attended the Boston Museum School at Tufts University, earning her BFA in 1982. After studying at the New York Studio School for one year (1983–1984), she attended Yale School of Art, where she completed a MFA in 1987. Semmes has employed sculpture, photography and film, and is best known for her oversized garments, primarily dresses, which she alters by elongating the arms and hem length to extend to the floor, encouraging the excess fabric to billow in pools of sensuous material. There is a surrealistic tone to much of Semmes’ work, and even when offering cultural critique, her works have a humorous edge. Since her first major one-person exhibition at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, New York, in 1990, Semmes’ work has been shown in other solo shows at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio (1997); the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC (1996); and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1995).