Georgette Maniatis is an artist living and working in New York. She holds a BFA and MFA from The School of Visual Arts, NY. Her work has been exhibited, among other places, at Performance Space 122, NY, Paul Robeson Galleries, NJ, Visual Arts Gallery, NY, WF Space Chelsea, NY, Brooklyn’s Open House, NY, Ray Smith Studio, NY, and Mathew Gallery, NY.
Thinking about visual labor and labor of the emotional interpretation, I began at the source of my curiosity, my father. Demetre Maniatis was born in Athens, Greece, arriving in the United States when he was twenty four-years old. Never having studied English – he found the ability to harvest words difficult, this native tongue quickly falling into spoil. Even after 35 years in the United States, a heavy accent soaks his speech. My father’s trade is mechanic work, specifically auto. His hands wear the permanent stain of such labor – large, calloused, heavily soiled. An old hay barn, transformed. Brutally cold in the winter, and achingly hot in the summer. This is the temperature of my father’s work place, his chamber, a mechanic’s garage. The once bare walls of this animal space has been painstakingly and purposely dressed in paper clippings, family photos, advertisements – everyday materials that pass from one’s hands – evidence of what it takes to consume this life. Every inch a canvas beckoning to be transformed into something new. My dad carefully taking the scraps of his consumption and later saving them as transformation, as decoration, as personhood. As an extension of my father’s imagination, the garage becomes a medium, a meeting point. This is a place where we could both meet and merge, a place imbued with the labor of creativity and industry, where we could encounter one another and start a conversation of creating something together. In Spite of Labor consists of images and video of my father and I attempting to communicate through the action of experimentation. I sought out the creation of work with my father as a means that has no end, a labor of surplus to each other’s purpose and relationship. Seeing one another beyond the tethers of our profession, beyond the identification of daily labor. The painstaking decorative transformation of his garage is an axis of respite from his routine, as the making of images is of my own – to break up the reality of this world. My father’s permission and willingness to delve into a vision he did not understand but trusted me through, is ultimately, a labor of love.