i lay where the wind blew over me
where the mists from the sea met the blue
i saw my stained glass self in Mission Dolores
St. Barbara with a bouquet of Swords
and rays streaming from her
plain glass head.
i saw the bronze wreath with which she would crown me
in golden gate fields
and one sword in her hand.
i took my eyes from my wallet where i carry them.
they are heavy-lidded and searching
i have cut off my nose and my brow
the shadow below in the bags are the knocks since
year thirty. to thirty five. fatigue
there is a notch at the top of the nose of in the lower brow
of fatigue, perplexion, overwhelming understanding
serious yellow complexion of brow
the eyes are serious with a touch of naiveté
i can remember at thirty I promised myself promising myself then
i wouldn’t know where I’d be at thirty five
in Los Altos ^ what I’d be doing at 35.
i was 50 miles away from here then Well here i am.
an adulterous wife
living with a classics professor
who demanded i leave when he learned i’d slept with his
well here i am telling you all this now. It’s abound
i am learning to see At 40 I want to be
i carry my camera to record my vision planting in a cornfield
in this time of transition and seeing the corn
transmission not me.
transduction seeing the corn.
St. Barbara twice
and feather tree top brows waving
a jet, a jet, a jet flies over
i am not propelling it
my eyes, nitrate silver defined
blow away from me
i have looked. i catch them. put them away and sleep.
Barbara Hammer’s Lesbian Whale: Early Drawings and Paintings presents previously unseen works on paper from 1968 to 1970 alongside her first five films, all of which were made between 1968 and 1972. Hammer also completed a new film that animates her early notebooks with voiceover commentary by friends and peers. These previously unseen drawings and paintings were made at a crucial turning point in Hammer’s early career, both before and after she left her husband to pursue a career in art and film. In these works, the first seeds of Hammer’s later film and performance works emerge alongside self-portraits, sketches, notes on future films, and drawings of the world around her.
Barbara Hammer is a pioneering experimental filmmaker who has worked across disciplines. She has had retrospectives at the Jeu de Palme (Paris), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Tate Modern, and Toronto Film Festival. A retrospective of her work is forthcoming at the Pink Life Queer Festival in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey. Her work was included in the 1985, 1989, and 1993 Whitney Biennials and her work is included in the permanent collections of the Australian Center for the Moving Image, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Centre Georges Pompidou, and elsewhere. She is the author of Hammer! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life (Feminist Press 2009). She is a professor at the European Graduate School. She lives and works in New York City and Kerhonkson, New York.