Unseen Hours: Space Clearing for Spirit Work is a two-person exhibition featuring the premiere of a collaborative project by Maria Molteni and Allison Halter, the culmination of an artist residency at Fruitlands Museum. The exhibition will showcase their short film Sacred Sheets, along with original artworks crafted for the film, including brooms, garments, a cut-paper installation, and Shaker items from the museum’s permanent collection. The film was created on Fruitlands’ grounds and within its Shaker Office, built in 1794.
Titled Sacred Sheets, after gift drawings made by Shaker sisters in the 1840s, the piece translates the imagery and calligraphic spirit writing of these inspired works into a colorful cut-paper floor drawing. Shifting light marks a day’s passage and frames a ritualized space clearing, evoking and reawakening the spirit of Shaker routine. Performances by the artists revisit significant moments in Shaker history, particularly the Era of Manifestations, through intimate observations of Shaker ephemera and the natural world. Using objects from the Fruitlands collection such as iconic Shaker boxes and baskets, candle stands, beekeeping equipment and Mother Ann Lee’s original rocking chair, they interweave visuals of an historic setting with enchanting imagery.
The collaboration developed from Molteni’s planned 2020 site-specific proposal to include living bees in the historic Shaker Office. Due to the pandemic, the project altered and expanded into a choreographed video piece, shot by cinematographer Gabe C. Elder, illuminating Halter and Molteni’s collective vision and entwining elements of their individual practices.Exhibition Events
Maria Molteni, Floor Drawing, 2020 – 2021, Cut paper, paint. Courtesy of the Artist
Allison Halter, Brooms, 2020, Wood, straw, rope, milk paint. Courtesy of the Artist