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Friday, May 5, 2006

The marvelous Dawn Cerny

Posted by on May 5 at 11:59 AM

Last night proved that Seattle’s gallery scene is strong enough for Artwalk to feel substantial even when the big three (James Harris, Howard House, and Greg Kucera) aren’t having openings (and Platform wasn’t new, either). Especially terrific was Dawn Cerny’s work at Gallery 4Culture, an installation of freestanding framed prints and drawings, and paintings made directly on the wall that infiltrated gilt frames and invaded the space of the etchings and paintings on paper inside those frames. It was a riot of overlapping narratives, loosely based on Walter Benjamin’s fragmented Arcades Project. I can’t wait to go back.

SOIL speaks in hushed tones this month, with a group show called nooksandcrannies by three artists that you encounter sort of clockwise inside the gallery, starting with a discernible but quiet river of styrofoam chips on the wall by Etsuko Ichikawa, then moving to a series of nearly invisible drawings made by poking tiny dots in the white wall by Julie Custer, and ending with a “drawing” that disappears in the context of the floor in one corner of the gallery by Marc Dombrosky. Each piece has a magnetic pull, drawing you a little further outside this world and into another one. (In the back space are photographs that Thom Heileson said represent a new direction for him, but honestly, it was difficult to look closely them amid the crowd, so again, I have to get back there.)

Punch, the newest artist-run collective, was another Pioneer Square hotspot. I’m curious about the contraption-sculpture containing water taken from near the Tate Modern (or something like that). Anyone know anything? The artist is Howard Barlow.

Tonight I’m driving to Tacoma for the opening of Critical Line, a new gallery run by the fine fellows of the amazing Tollbooth Gallery, Jared Pappas-Kelley and Michael Lent. These guys are great; I truly recommend anything they do, despite the commute. The inaugural show, Found Space, features photographic works by Matthew Keeney, Kevin Haas, EJ Hercyzk, Ann Kendellen, and video by Israeli artist Ido Fluk.

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Hello Jen,

"Glen" essentially functions as a dispersal unit, where water samples collected from site-specific locations from my travels evaporate. I find areas where existing water visually impacts my memory of place, such as the water that is currently part of “Glen” (from a puddle outside Tate Modern collected on a rainy day in London.) I collect such samples as a way of documenting a moment in time and place. These samples are later evaporated into gallery settings where people interact (often unknowingly) with the piece by breathing in the water vapor from such locations.

The other aspect of this piece, the "person" part, has to do with my awareness of how when I travel, my body makeup changes physically as I move from one place to another. This is the easiest way for me to explain: if I camp next to an lake for an extended period of time, and I only drink the water from the lake, there is a point at which the overwhelming majority of my physical makeup becomes that lake. I become place. Later, when I change locations, I slowly excrete this previous place in my new surrounding with every breath. This is, in a nutshell, what “Glen” does.

Glen is a part of my body of work titled "Person, Place, Thing". This is the statement that accompanied the exhibition:

Our body mass consists primarily of recycled water. Like bodies of water such as lakes and rivers, human bodies need continuous refills of water to compensate for their evaporation and excretion of water. The water sustaining us now is the same water that has contributed to creating and sustaining life for millions of years, and is the same water that will continue to do so for millions more. A glass or bottle of “drinking” water has an elaborate, almost incomprehensible, history, having potentially passed through people now dead for tens of thousands of years, or through life forms now extinct. A person is, for life, a moving, cycling body of borrowed water. My interest in our water borrowing and how water transcends time and place is the focus of Person, Place, Thing.

I hope this is of some use.


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