With a nod to Warhol’s, 1964 opus, “Empire”, this trilogy of videos resists any typical temporal, action-based narrative, and yet simultaneously suggests it. Each piece centers around a lone woman, all of whom almost slyly encompass a panoply of reflecting fictions. The amalgamated ‘characters’ take substance from childhood fairytales, contemporary fashion, female genre roles and a healthy dose of nostalgia and somehow coalesce into a peaceful, almost quieting image. The enmeshing of an anti-narrative and obvious reference to the bold fiction of children’s fairytales complicate the calm hold of these images with humor; slithering alloys placing ironies. While we can see no real action over the duration of these works, at the intersection of cliché, there is a poignancy, a piquancy. Slight movements are not deliberations but more akin to a misty dream, an action of the unconscious; slow, flowing, even meandering and pointless but undeniably pertinent as iconic and soulful. These are portraits of control, of mastery. Almost in subterfuge, there is a complexity, a riot, a life replete with pressure, valuation, desire, memory, association, limitation and possibility, bubbling under the surface of a lullaby. Original soundtracks of tonal washes and subtle, circular, harmonies paint clues to the welled chaos of our valiant mistresses. Impregnated with emotion, these imperial sometimes haunting tracks illuminate and obfuscate their tenants, giving rise to their essential contradiction. We see traps of assumption escaped with grace. The prisons laying in wait within contemporary society, especially in a female body, are refracted through distorted prisms of past and present associations which affect our reality sometimes with serendipity, as well as, inappropriateness.
“Holly Holy” is a collision of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and a bit of Eve, bathed in red velvet and monastically reading Faulkner. “Locks & Hocks” conflates Goldilocks and a restrained 50’s housewife, entombed in a sun-drenched, yellow kitchen listlessly stirring a pot of beans and ham hocks. And “Babe” collapses male and female with a school girl, Paul Bunyan combo of metamorphosed blue plaid where our heroine dully wields a two-sides axe, knocking dirt from her boots, while swathed in one of the most sexualized articles of clothing in recent history. The resulting unions blend our knowns, alarm us with their misplaced intimacies and create an inextricably raveled whole which humbly asks us to believe in something we are not quite sure we understand.
Music by Joe Raglani