Kate Gilmore loves a challenge. For her performance-based video works, she sets up difficult physical tasks—a precarious tower of strungtogether furniture to climb, for instance—dons lipstick and a fancy dress, and documents herself making the attempt.
The dogged persistence of Gilmore’s protagonists suggests the obsessive behavior that can characterize daily efforts to cope with high expectations. These dolled-up women seem desperate for success, love, or attention—desires traditionally bound up with gender and the condition of artmaking. In all of her projects, Gilmore strives for compositional perfection, and her incongruous party clothes are always perfectly coordinated with the installation itself. Combining physical comedy, palpable effort, and a whiff of real danger, Gilmore’s work evokes time-based “endurance” work of the 1970s, such as that of Vito Acconci, and expands on feminist and performance art in the tradition of Joan Jonas and Marina Abramovic.