Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Writ Crit of Jen O'Neill's work

In the Eastern installation space, there is tent-like construction held up by fishing line. The mismatched materials (fabric, clothes, paper) of various colors are stitched together using thick white yarn, which resembles sutures. The tent-like construction is about 5 feet high and touches the floor. There are a few openings that invite the viewer to crawl inside. Once inside, sitting on the floor, the viewer's gaze travels upward. The sewing craft is very apparent since the viewer's eyes are quite close to the fabric. The holes that have been punctured in paper and the perforated holes in fabric from removed stitching stand out since light from outside shines through subtly.
This is the most recently completed piece by Jennifer O'Neill. The hodge-podge tent-like structure looks like it was put together in a quick manner. In comparison to traditional children's forts, the fishing line attachments to the wall are pretty different. There is a clear linkage between the drawing of flying fabric and the installation.
Whereas in the drawing there is no color, the splashes of color in the installation give it a more levity and playfulness. The use of handmade paper in the installation seems to be out of place since the paper doesn't physically act like fabric. The use of cut up clothing is intriguing as well as the use of the white tulle with figures drawn on it. As the figures become distorted in the fold, they resemble the gumby-like mylar stencils Jen is so adept at making.

The use of the figure is prevalent in her work. The figures seem to be female but sometimes it is unclear if they have a gender. In the print work hung in conjunction with the installation, any color is in the red family, which is associated with anxiety. Understanding a specific type of anxiety is difficult. The drawing style is relatively classical. The compositions are nicely considered. The images feel too contained on the piece of paper. Perhaps instead of drawing, some other form of visual communication would be more effective. Something more visceral and off-putting for the viewer.
The heart of the work is very personal and there are a lot of questions for Jen to answer to figure out what she wants to communicate. Explorations with three dimensional vignettes and performance could help elucidate relevant themes.

artists similar
Jean Shin - Penumbra
Candice Smith Corby - The narratives in Smith Corby's intricate paintings navigate through the muddied waters of traditional female imagery, carving-out a space for new ideas to grow.
Ghada Amer
Katy Grannan

No comments: