Proficiencies for Living in Ruins

October 5 – December 8, 2018
ICA Baltmore at Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

A large-scale, site-specific installation by Baltimore-based fiber artist Melissa Webb, Proficiencies for Living in Ruins represents a partnership between the artist, ICA Baltimore, and Lovely Lane United Methodist Church. Situated inside the dramatic architecture of a currently unused chapel in historic Lovely Lane UMC, this interactive environment explores the human endeavor to operate within a society which has distanced itself from nature in an ever-expanding manner. Utilizing an accumulation of handmade and manipulated found materials, Webb imagines a future where, in the face of deteriorating environmental and societal stability, humankind and the natural world learn new ways to thrive in symbiosis. Viewers are encouraged to consider their bodies in relation to objects and people within the space—alternately obscuring and revealing, isolating and conspiring. 

During the run of the exhibition, several artists working in the areas of sound, music, and performance art will react to the installation through the presentation of new, site responsive works. A series of evening and weekend events will feature Baltimore-based artists Carrie Fucile, Stephanie Barber, and Tom Boram. 

Video from Stephanie Barber's "Contemplative Opera" performance at PLR.

Special thanks to the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund for their generous support of this project. Proficiencies for Living in Ruins is the twenty-seventh exhibition by the ICA since 2011.

Melissa Webb

Melissa Webb is a Baltimore-based fiber artist working in the areas of site-specific installation and large-scale participatory and performative environments. Her solo and collaborative works have been featured at venues such as 'sindikit Projects, VisArts Rockville, School 33 Art Center, The Maryland Institute College of Art, Gallery Imperato, Baltimore’s Creative Alliance, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Baltimore Theatre Project, and at public art festivals such as Artscape, Philadelphia Fringe, and the Transmodern Festival. Melissa is a three-time Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize semi-finalist and the recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Artistic Innovation and Collaboration grant.

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, formerly known as First Methodist Episcopal Church, and earlier founded as the Lovely Lane Meeting House, is the Mother Church of American Methodism. The church building, situated in Old Goucher, was designed in the Romanesque Revival style by Stanford White and completed in 1887. It was built as a Centennial Monument of the "Christmas Conference” - the historic founding conference of newly independent Methodists within the United States, held just after the American Revolution - to unify the factions of Methodism. The exterior is constructed of gray ashlar granite and features a square bell tower patterned after the campanile of the 12th century church of Santa Maria, Abbey of Pomposa, near Ravenna, Italy. Lovely Lane United Methodist Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Installation and opening reception photos courtesy of Liz Donadio.