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Wynne Greenwood’s exhibition “Sweated,” at The Lee Center for the Art’s Hedreen Gallery in Seattle, WA, is the second installment in a year-long trilogy exhibition curated by Yoko Ott, “Void Blank Blank Void Sweated Blank,” that addresses the gallery’s unique character as an exhibition space and a theatre lobby. Adam Putnam’s show “Void Blank Blank,” for which he produced “Untitled,” (2009) a provocative light-based sculpture in the form of a Magic Lantern projection of the red portal that leads to the theatre, was the opening exhibition to the series. 


"Sweated," includes a series of makeshift curtains placed down the length of the gallery in two rows. One row, titled "Hair Dye," (2009) hangs against the windows and features white sheets stained with paint that purposefully correspond through the use of a similar palette and compositional counterpoints with the interior row of hangings that are titled, “Sandcastle Turtle" (2009). The geometric or even somewhat representational shapes, such as an unraveling golden braid stretching out horizontally, are sewn onto this series of sheets rather than painted. Arrayed along the length of the storefront, the exhibition is a kind of public work as well as a gallery treatment; as with Bellevue’s Open Satellite, work can be viewed well from the street, easily available for the public to encounter.


 


When seen from across the street and through the windows of the gallery, the graphic relationships in Greenwood’s painting installation become the focus. It serves as the off-site backdrop for her performance, “Sister Taking Nap: A Meditation on Human Evolution,” that took place in April at Seattle’s On The Boards theatre. Aesthetically and conceptually, the Hedreen show was made in relationship to the performance. Greenwood states, “it’s in conversation with the performance, which is about intuition, instinct, these deeper levels of knowing and how they’ve gotten reduced to decoration. The performance is about listening to that voice. These curtains are a representation of that instinct.”


 


Greenwood retired her well-received video performance work, “Tracy + the Plastics” in 2006, and faced down the discomfort of reestablishing her relationship to performance and audience. She produced a new series of works in spring 2008 for an exhibition at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects titled “Face It,” comprised of a single-channel video and large, cartoon-head sculptures that she used for her music video that was filmed at the gallery site, “Big Candy.” A critical aspect of Greenwood's work is that she explores how and why objects are present in a work, whether it's installation, video, and in performance, how the performers interact with them. The set pieces (which were made prior to establishing the narrative of the performance) for “Sister Taking Nap,” included a huge pink suitcase, an animal cage, and the sleeping sister (a cloth figure), and are meant to be stood on in the one-act performance, used by Greenwood as a personal stage.


In the performance, a casual narrative evolves of a young woman who is staying with her sister, a poet and former radical. She hesitates to disturb her sister’s nap when there’s a phone call. She can’t find a pen to leave a note, wondering why, in the house of a poet, there aren’t any pens. All of this is made oblique through Greenwood’s expansive relationship to narrative structure, objects and media, where the repetition of dialogue, pre-recorded and experimental sound produces language in the plastic, sculptural terms of an object, that helps to manage and shape the space. Another live performer, Gina Young (of Team Gina), in Greenwood’s terms, “occupies this space between sculpture and live person, taking on the role of metaphor and symbol.” As Greenwood's character searches her sister’s home for food, she opens the refrigerator door (Young’s arms) and repetitively intones, “jam…jam…jam. There’s, like, ten kinds of jam here, there’s like, ten kinds of jam. There’s like…managed…expectations.” This layered text is punctuated by slivers of varied, nonverbal vocalizations (the “voice” of the dormant sister) and chipping sounds that stay just fragmented enough to avoid a sense of rhythm. Greenwood resisted putting songs as such into the performance, and music is treated more as sonic design, and as with her approach to video, objects and text, are layered into complex articulations that fuse artistic hierarchies with the autobiographical.  


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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Wynne Greenwood
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