Medium: Gel pens and ink on “Shrinky Dink”
Diameter of average heart: 4.7mm (size of a peppercorn)
Diameter of smallest heart: 3mm (size of 2 raw grains of sugar)
"coeur / heart...what is constant is that the heart is constituted into a gift-object – whether ignored or rejected."
- Roland Barthes "A Lover's Discourse: Fragments"
Since 2002 Charmaine has been practicing love for 100 individuals. Attempting to capture and keep an intense moment shared and person appreciated, their name is written and embellished on jewel-like colorful shrinky dink heart charms. A public, yet discreet, manifestation of personal wish, intention, feeling, a promise. A heart token signifies a vow to unconditionally work on sustaining that commitment until Wheatley dies. Her love is not dependent upon reciprocation. The 100 Loves are housed within 2-inch cube bug magnifier/examiner clear acrylic boxes.
by Charmaine Wheatley +
Installation: Carnegie Arts Center, Buffalo, NY. 2006.
Photo credit: Kevin Charles Kline.
Installing the 100 loves, requires a large PRISTINE “Perfect 10” wall. At a distance, the wall looks bare. Naked. Specs become visible... like pinholes, where nails were taken out but not spackled and painted. Upon closer examination, little heart shapes come into focus: colors, names...
Most often people walk out without knowing they were there.
“...darkness is more productive of sublime ideas than light.”- Edmund Burke, On the Sublime and Beautiful
Between 2002-2004 audiences were invited to participate in a game of seduction, mystery, fantasy and threat. "SPINS" involved Wheatley dancing round with audience members in pitch black darkness, wearing a glow in the dark, see-through bikini, with 3-inch swinging fish hooks, while Shimada cut and mixed various versions of the song "CHARMAINE" on turntables. While dancing darkness, costume, activity, and music called into question one’s own perceived social taboos and confront appropriate behaviours for public and private. Nothing was visible but glowing triangles, but the mind’s eye actively filled in the darkness.
Wheatley's namesake: CHARMAINE, comes from the title of her father's favorite song "CHARMAINE". This video chronicles selections of "CHARMAINE" recorded spins accompanied by danced spins. Each time "SPINS" was performed, the tape got updated with the last session's spins.
June 9, 10, 11, 1999
6 minute video from when I traveled on the local subway system for three days during rush hour attempting to enforce courtesy and consideration in the consciousness of commuters. Posing as a Metro Transit Authority officer I told passengers who asked that ‘I’d been hired by Mayor Giuliani’. Most people were pleasant and accepted my authority. Occasionally I ran into more aggressive types but once I presented my forged identification card, tension between us subsided.Only the friends dressed in uniform like me helping videotape me on the job and those who happened to be traveling on the subway witnessed the performance. For example, I asked people to take their shopping bags off the seat next to them so someone else could sit down and got younger more fit looking people to offer their seats to the elderly or children. I helped a man carry a cumbersome cart down the stairs. Using my subway map, I helped another man find the train he needed. I even got the 'nod' from 'fellow' MTA employees.
What Is The Role Of Women? 
This performance questions biblical scriptures from a personal perspective...one that includes the artist's mother's Newfoundlander cultural background.
"…And I caught sight of a woman sitting upon a scarlet-coloured wild beast that was full of blasphemous names and that had seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls and had in her hand a golden cup that was full of disgusting things and the unclean things of her fornication. And upon her forehead was written a name, a mystery: Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth. And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus…” [Revelation 17:3-6]
“Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence.” [1 Timothy 2:11-12].
What Does Jesus Think Of Lapdancing?
In 2010, Wheatley created artwork, wrote a 1000 word text and designed / laid out this pamphlet for the printer. The tract is given freely as a preaching tool within performance activity. An earnest attempt to reconcile the 1st half of the artists life: a strict religious upbringing with the 2nd half: exposure to the critical “liberal” thinking of art education and a subsequent career as visual artist.
Each weighs: 1.5 lbs. Each measure: 7"x3"x4". Exhibited and served:
1. A.I.R Gallery, NYC (July 1999)
2. Galley One One One, Winnipeg, MB. Canada (January 2001)
3. Mt. Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, NS. Canada (June 2001)
4. Whitebox Gallery, NYC (June 2002)
5. Bard College, New York (May 2002)
6. Ambrosino Gallery, N. Miami, Florida (January 2005)
7. AKA Gallery, Saskatoon, SK. Canada (April 2005)
8. Mills Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts (May 2012)
9. Pulsar Performances @ Catland, Brooklyn, NY (May 2016)
Sculpture: An accurate copy of the space between the artist's ass cheeks. Cast in solid chocolate, the sculptures are crescent in shape resembling a quarter moon. Its replication delivers pornographic detail of Wheatley's butt crack with the simple elegance of an abstract geometric curved form.
Wearing a pristine white Victorian costume with clear plastic bustle, Charmaine Wheatley serves moonpies. The residual "moonpies" remain on display for the rest of the exhibition along with documentation of people taking bites. Each tasted chocolate documents the collapsed space between the participating audience member's lips, teeth, tongue, fingers and her anus, vagina, buttcrack, goosebumps, etc. The audience can not passively witness the performance, rather they're implicated as active participants. "The cloak of invisibility has been stripped away, and ones' spectatorship becomes an issue within the work"- Catherine Elwes.
Saartjie "Sarah" Baartman (1790 – 29 December 1815) was the most famous Khoikhoi woman who, due to her large buttocks (steatopygia), was exhibited at freak show attractions in 19th-century Europe under name Hottentot Venus—"Hottentot" was the then current name for the Khoi people, and is now considered an offensive term and "Venus" in reference to the Roman goddess of love. Informed by the writings of Bell Hooks, most especially the chapter: "Selling Hot Pussy" in Hooks' book: "Race and Representation", this project shares persisting questions of race and gender equality. What does it mean for a white woman serving chocolate casts of her behind? How does this work relate to popular culture? The relationships between race, class and gender during the Victorian era versus now. Charmaine Wheatley looks at the actual contours of our bodies and how they can be manipulated by applying the lines of a second skin: clothing.
Sander Gilman discusses the racist intrigue of Sarah Baartman's body in relation to Victorian fashion: "The bustle style indicates that the desire to possess this rump and make it fashionable was real; like all women's fashions, it was seen as an accoutrement that could attract male attention, indicating that European women were cognizant of white male interest in exaggerated buttocks." - "The Black Dancing Body: A Geography From Coon to Cool" (P. 153)