IT IS RARELY RECOGNIZED THAT THE WELL-WORN PHRASE “THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS” IS A MISTRANSLATION. THE DECLARATION’S AUTHOR—KURT KOFFKA, A CO-FOUNDER OF GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY—ACTUALLY MAINTAINED THAT THE HUMAN MIND FORMS AN IMPRESSION THAT IS “OTHER” THAN THE SUM OF A COMPOSITE’S PARTS. VARYING FROM INDIVIDUAL TO INDIVIDUAL, DEPENDENT ON SOCIETAL CODES AND EXPERIENCES THAT TRANSLATE CHAOS INTO MEANING, THESE SELF-ORGANIZING TENDENCIES RIPPLE OUTWARD TO PERPETUATE NEW REALITIES THAT SHAPE OUR GLOBAL WHOLE.
Rather than decry such subconscious systems, artist Vadis Turner precipitates their seditious possibilities by purposefully subverting entrenched expectations. She uses culturally laden parts—from hand-dyed, up-cycled ribbons to bobby pins to breast milk—to “explore the transformative possibilities of female materials” and create works that are “equal parts art and heirloom.” As Koffka theorized, once combined by Vadis, these distinct pieces evolve beyond their respective histories to illuminate new or “other” depictions that decipher embedded codes and explore rooted rituals and gender roles.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER MAKING?
Barbie furniture out of Band-Aids and Kleenex boxes.
WHAT DO YOU WISH WE TALKED ABOUT MORE?
What we are grateful for and what moves us to tears.
WHICH OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE YOU MOST SIMILAR TO AND HOW?
I have my mother's wanderlust and am always seeking out new adventures. This fall I am going to Day of the Dead festival in Morelia, Mexico. I really want to go crystal mining in Arkansas, too.
I like to eat lunch like my grandfather. He would have a refrigerator picnic every afternoon, having a couple bites available of everything with cheese and crackers.
A SONG FOR WORKING IN THE STUDIO
A SUMMER AFTERNOON SONG
SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ART
The New York Marathon was my favorite day of the year while I lived in New York City. It's such a beautiful and massive exertion of effort and endurance. Strangers cheering for strangers by name... It makes me cry every time.
WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?
A crying baby.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
Extreme wealth and fame.
A FIGHT SCENE
The kicking is especially hilarious
A PICTURE YOU WISH YOU'D TAKEN
A PLACE YOU HAVE CALLED HOME
A SONG FROM THE FIRST CONCERT YOU WENT TO
A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF YOUR PARENTS
WHAT DOES "FEMINIST" MEAN TO YOU?
The awareness and support of what defines, confines and enriches women.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEW YORK CITY AND NASHVILLE?
Time. I feel that time is a different medium here. It is thicker and slower. I can make plans spontaneously. People don't talk about how busy they are as much.
YOUR LAST GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH
YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD PICTURE
YOUR LIFE PHILOSOPHY
WHAT AMERICA IS TO YOU
Late summer is county fair season in Tennessee. The rides are ok, but I like looking at the prize animals, milking stations, buck-dancing contests and hair-do pageants. You can feel pure American spirit in the agricultural displays. There are rows of cosseted peppers, peas, tomatoes and eggplants on paper plates with long red and blue prize ribbons on them.
AN IMAGE HANGING ON THE WALL OF YOUR STUDIO RIGHT NOW
A LINK YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE
Islands of Milwaukee: This incredible group of artists created a simple performance to help seniors safely cross the street so they can leave the house. "The Crossings" attracted so much attention that three mayors and a senator came to witness how hard it was for the elderly to get to the other side in time. After ONE WEEK, the laws were changed and crossing times were extended all over the city. Proof that creative thinking and action can change how we live.
HOW DO YOU SAY GOODBYE?
"Love, Love. "That's what my grandmother-in-law, Gran, says instead of "cheers" or "goodbye". She is 92 and cans about 500 jars of pickles and preserves every year for her church bazaar in Kentucky. A true southern badass.