Cate Giordano. After the fire is gone

15 Sep 2017 – 22 Oct 2017

Microscope Gallery

New York
New York, United States


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Microscope is very pleased to present the first solo exhibition at the gallery by Cate Giordano, After the fire is gone, as the culmination of a three-year long project in moving image, sculpture and installation based on the life of Dolly Presley, a persona created and performed by the artist.


The exhibition is an installation centering around a just completed 33-minute single-channel video of the same title in which a New York City diner waitress –  in a Dolly Parton wig and makeup and Elvis Presley mutton chops and jumpsuit who is prone to breaking into songs – finds herself in a love triangle, forced to choose between her insurance salesman husband Anton and her true love Clayton, a silent drifter who has suddenly resurfaced. The latter two are also performed by Giordano.

The video plays across more than a dozen vintage TV’s each featuring a separate and looping scene from the work. Sets from the movie are reinstalled throughout the space, dense with detailed objects and sculptures – made from wood, plaster, wax, papier-mâché and other materials – that appear in or expand upon the scenes and other elements of the piece. 

Through the use of narrative filmmaking tropes and low-fi aesthetics – the video was shot on VHS and MiniDV – Giordano draws attention to the artifice and limitations of the representations of love/desire offered by the media that inform our experiences and at times our life-changing decisions. The coarsely constructed sculptures of people, objects, and places heightens the sense of isolation that surrounds Dolly despite the familiar story line. 

The artist says of the protagonist: “Like a true Southern Belle, she’s trained herself to hide her feelings, singing her heart out only in her dreamscapes to songs such as Here You Come Again and Just Someone I Used to Know. […] Dolly Presley is trapped in the self-contained hell of Americana, unable to escape the constructs of her fabricated reality, and ultimately is victim to a circular narrative that she isn’t aware she controls.”

Exhibiting artists

Cate Giordano


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