It’s not every day that a gallery as spacious as the Railyard’s form & concept opens up an entire floor to just one artist, but Santa Fe’s Thais Mather has a massive body of multi-disciplinary work and a whole hell of a lot to say. With Reckless Abandon, Mather examines the ideas of humanity, feminism, activism, the end of days and so much more through visual works, collaborative performance pieces and readings. It is, to our knowledge, one of the largest single-exhibit undertakings from a single artist in Santa Fe history. She explores the notion of woman as “other;” she was first interested in octopuses, snakes and spiders, vilified for their strangeness, and that brought her to the origins of misogyny.
When you take on a show this huge, what's the timeline like?
The show is really the culmination of my interests from the last five years, so I'd say it's been in the works that long—but the work itself is two years in the making.
You don't often see so many mediums from one artist. Has that been challenging?
I'm a learner. I've been so lucky in this community that there's just such an incredible number of artists and thinkers, and I think it's the synthesis of being surrounded by very talented people and being interested in what they're doing all the time. I've always looked for venues that would allow me to be myself, and I think in some ways that's challenging, but I think that form&concept is really pivotal right now. I don't want to be hard on SITE [Santa Fe], but I think the show that's up right now is an example of institutions that are rooted in New Mexico but are always looking at New York or Los Angeles in terms of culture and I appreciate … [that] form & concept is interested in a global conversation, but it's always grounded in artists here.
Given the shape of things right now, is it easier to create work that is, for lack of a better term, more punk rock?
I think there's a collective feeling in our consciousness as privileged Americans that we're not immune, and I think that's a good place to be—especially if you've had white privilege and haven't understood what the threat can be. We're such a young species and I think we get caught up in minutiae, but I try to remain hopeful. As an atheist, I feel very hopeful in the thought that maybe humanity doesn't go on forever, and if it does, we can think of different ways to function as a society. As an artist within my community, it's important to think about what our goals are as individuals and also as activists. What do we really want in the next 20 years? If the constructs of gender or race as hierarchy were to disappear, that would be a goal. And there's a lot of ways that you can work to acheieve that goal, whether you're an artist or activist, but, personally, I don't get caught up other than in how I can help people and how I can not let someone like Donald Trump control my life. I don't pretend to be an authority on anything, but one thing I've studied for a long time is feminism, and it's really working right now.