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Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Terra Non Firma

Posted by on July 6 at 11:18 AM

The filmmaker Jem Cohen, who made a beautiful documentary about outsider musician/drag queen/freak Benjamin Smoke, recounted in an recent Artforum interview how he was shooting from the window on the train to DC and the police confiscated his film due to supposed national security concerns. This got me thinking about how even the landscape has taken on a new politicized weight. It’s frightening on the most basic level yet it’s exciting for artists to think that even something as seemingly resolved and boring as the landscape is reactivated.

All of this is by way of telling you that you should go see Terra Non Firma at Howard House before it closes on Saturday July 16. It’s an excellent group show of paintings, which investigate ideas about landscape. Some of the work may have the lightweight air of Williamsburg painting circa 2002 but none of it is flimsy or without merit. And there are lovely contributions by two of my favorite Seattle artists Victoria Haven and Robert Yoder.