Friday, March 11, 2011


This is Erin's writ crit...!

What consistently draws me into Erins’ work is her drawing style—and I like it best when I feel like it is personal, when I feel like the marks she has made are essential to the piece. I love that the pinkish-blue mass at the top of the “hole” piece resembles clumps of hair—maybe that’s an association I carry from her past work, but I do enjoy the ambiguity of not knowing whether the shapes are meant to be abstract or concrete. The same applies to the graphite hole under it. Though this drawing may visually resemble the other works in the room—in terms of the colors involved—, I really think it operates quite differently. It is the "unknowable" in the piece keeps me coming back in order to try and understand the significance of the presented imagery.

The other works, meanwhile, are different in that they read very much as specific portraits, and at the same time, not. They seem to be portraits in the obvious sense that they represent people's faces, but the accumulation of different faces within a single drawing makes for an unconventional style of portraiture. They all seem to be drawn in different ways, which leads me to presume that they're all meant to say slightly different things. Not to say they should all be drawn in the same style, but the ambiguity here is something I'm less comfortable with—the overall grouping of these drawings sends me mixed messages.

In order to make sense of these, then, I look at the types of faces, the colors used, and the marks present across all four drawings. All of the faces portrayed seem to be relatively young, so I wonder if this is a comment on a generation or a group of people within a certain setting (I assume I would think this without knowing where the images came from)? Is it larger than that? Is it about what we can read on these people's faces? Most of them seem pensive, reflective, and slightly anxious—inward focus is the predominant theme.

Some faces are hard to read—these are the ones in yellow, and these are the ones that bring me back to the feeling of trying to gauge an expression on a person's face. It is hard to tell what these people are thinking about in specificity, and the yellow makes us fight to be able to see their faces in addition to puzzling out their emotions. The paleness of the blue brings out the jarring, insistent qualities of the yellow even more, and the coral-pink color comes across as more of a visceral red at first glance against the lightness of the other two colors. My favorite of these portraitures is the one in which the faces are rendered with rough black charcoal lines—the grittiness of the texture makes for a nice contrast to the amorphous and washy splashes of color. In that piece, the reddish-pink seems to reveal a strong inner emotion on the part of the young man whose face it partly colors.

Other clues in these pieces include an image of a clock that recurs—on the left with the hands pointing out roughly 11:45, on the right marking 1:50. Handwritten text in the upper right corner of the piece reads, "The Rabbit Hole," and a scrawled repetition of the word "what." I see the text "The Rabbit Hole" as an invitation to an inner psychological space and the repetition of "what" as an expression of frustration. The clocks seem to indicate that time is passing in these pieces—perhaps too fast?

What is also interesting about this grouping of pieces is the arrangement of pieces of tape amongst them. Just looking at the tape pieces brings a number of things to mind—they resemble anemone, or stars, or flowers, but they don't seem to be about any of those things. What I'm struck by is the way that they seem defeated and limp. I'm reminded of an 3D-Design class assignment where we were asked to create a wooden modular sculpture piece that would resemble the motion of a person falling, and would instill a feeling of empathy in the viewer (so that the viewer would be nervous about its fall and want to help it balance). In a way, these tape pieces seem to be withdrawing inward—perhaps my read of the emotions on the people's faces are influencing the way I see the tape pieces.

With prior knowledge of how Erin usually presents her work, I assume that these are pieces of tape that have been used to hold up these pieces before and that have now been torn off and arranged into clusters. You can see slightly torn marks on the paper where the tape has been ripped off. So I also think of band-aids, and how a band-aid protects a wound but eventually has to come off, and never without pain. The work on the left (featuring Danny's face) seems to me to be in an earlier stage of completion, while the works in the middle seem a bit more resolved—does that mean the tape gets ripped off as the works mature? Or is this all speculation? The only thing that makes me wonder about the tape as a material is its presence now as a sort of sculptural/decorative object.

In terms of artists, I think of:

Darrel Morris

I’m thinking about this admittedly because he embroiders, and I’ve been researching that lately—but he often portrays a certain type of person—usually forlorn aging men. He also has a background in printmaking, which makes sense when you look at his work.

Margareth Doorduin

Her photos are strange and seem to depict psychological struggles. I really love the gestures and how they spark empathy but also seem clinical and enforce distance.

Bohyun Yoon

This may be a bit of a stretch, but this artist works a lot about control systems (government, out

side forces, etc?) and what they do to the individual body.

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