The sweet anxiety in the worlds of Jennifer Zwick

Seattle-based artist Jennifer Zwick has a new installation, “I’m Pretty Sure This is Exactly Right,” up until June 28th, that has quietly infiltrated a public street space with a window into a private realm — that of the divided human consciousness.  This piece is a part of the Storefronts Seattle program that seeks to “revitalize neighborhoods” by putting art and art experiences into empty storefronts, keeping the vibrant neighborhood culture alive while businesses try to heal from this recession.   To me this is a perfect fit for her work, a tiny peek into a flip-flopped world where art helps out business, and the divide between multiple states of being is not really as clear as it may first appear.  Though primarily known for her photographs, this little constructed world — of a dark jungle scene on top and a domestic interior mirrored and suspended below — reflects much of what I feel when I see most of her work.

It’s like almost being able to touch the slightly off-kilter images of nature she presents, but still keeping us confined behind glass.  The anxiety it makes me feel is like a subtle itch, but then her anxiety slides up beside and takes the hand of my anxiety and we all skip off together with hell in our hand-basket.  I’m sucked in because I know the ship is going down, but her work lets me know it might just all be okay with one tiny flip of perspective.  I did a free-association cherry pick of her work I felt drawn to, and when looking at the pieces all together like tea-leaves I found my own concerns reflected back, that of the anxious human standing on the threshold between wanting to vanish into nature and wanting to be a part of polite society, of losing self but also wanting to.  Our big brain and vulnerable bodies give us the ability to compartmentalize and separate ourselves from even our own bodies and desires, in order to survive.


The Explorers



But it is these compartments that Zwick teases apart with a self-deprecating tomfoolery until the divide only seems like a shadow of the same thing.  It will (never) get better, unless and especially if you break through and dive into the other side of yourself, outside of yourself.  The installation is at 409 Maynard Avenue South (the lower space, looking onto Maynard Ave), in Seattle, Wa. until June 28th.

Hello 2

Hello 2

What Might Go Wrong: 37.  Miss All Opportunities

What Might Go Wrong: 37. Miss All Opportunities

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Chris Larson’s Deep North

I saw Chris Larson’s film ‘Deep North’ in 2008 while at the Miami Basel Art explosion, and out of the overstimulating art overload my eyeballs took in that week these images of quiet and cold have stuck with me.  I wish there was a way to watch the film…What these images don’t really show are the women dressed in grey felt or flannel jerkins, pushing a huge wooden machine that seems to make tubes of ice, all crammed into a little country home.  The rhythmic, ritualistic movements seems at once devoid of any meaning, but oh so human in our ability to carry on, business as usual, with the world falling apart.  After the fact, I realize this little film had a great deal of influence on the performance I just completed……

I know this isn’t really what this work was meant to convey, but it’s like ‘eco art’ in reverse.  Rather than some sort of ‘intervention’ in the natural landscape, it is as if it is the built environment that is painfully intervened upon.  Which of course raises the notion that these boundaries between these two states are, on a larger scale, fabricated in our own sense of how we exist in the world.

What Climate Change Might Look Like: Chris Larson’s Deep North.

help me remember the art film….

I saw in in Miami 2008 at the fairs…it’s a house that has been totally frozen, with some women in grey felt clothing working this mill thing-of sorts…

know what I’m talking about?

This isn’t it…but research for homeschool lessons, but instantly reminded me of how much I loved that film and had never gone to find out more about it…


Water Mill on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.