For this year’s Photorama (my first as a staff member at TPW!) I find myself drawn to works that approximate the human body, yet stretch at the limits of what that representation can mean. These are bodies captured in fragments, residues, creases, and gestures, bodies both playful and ambiguous in their own forms of messiness.
Kelly Jazvac, Schweppervescent, 2016, $2300.
When I first decided to write about Kelly Jazvac’s wonderful Schweppervescent, I was going to mention that the title sounded like an absurd cross between a marketing tagline and an onomatopoeia that you have never heard yet immediately, somehow, recognize. I stand by that characterization, but a quick Google search has led me to the fact that “Schweppervescence” was also a brand campaign for the ginger ale/club soda brand Schweppes (perhaps that’s where the subliminal familiarity came from). It’s appropriate, regardless, since Jazvac’s work incorporates salvaged sign vinyl and printed banners; the material supports for advertising and promotion. Yet looking at these fractured bodily shapes, the word takes on new sensations in Jazvac’s work: these aren’t balloons bursting clean and fresh, but something sticky and residual, an exuberant mess that maybe you want to keep around.
Kelly Uyeda, Second Thoughts, 2016, $300 (framed), $175
Kelly Uyeda’s print Second Thoughts may seem quiet at a small 5×7”, yet the more I sit with it, the more I see. These strange blotches of black wrinkles, like leather-clad elbows, shoulders and knees. Or are they even body parts at all? It’s hard to know for sure, but Uyeda’s intriguing, dark and deceptively simple taxonomy creates a lot of space for divergent readings.
Lili Huston-Herterich, Right Middle, 2015, $500
Lili Huston-Herterich’s silver gelatin print also plays with scale in some interesting ways. Right Middle takes the visual structure of a fingerprint and stretches it outwards, becoming both sketchy and mountainous at once. My associations could continue: rings on a tree, crop circles, loose doodles in a notebook—I’m finding things both large and small, mundane and grandiose in Huston-Herterich’s print. Yet these disparate reference points are all mechanisms for storing data, for recording traces of presence and growth. A fingerprint’s twists and whorls act as a stand-in for one’s identity, often in a clinical or criminal framework. Huston-Herterich considers this work part of a series of self-portraits—and the smear on the upper corner? Made with ink on her finger.
Alvin Luong, Baby Richard Serra (Right Angle Prop), 2016, $600
Lastly, Alvin Luong’s Baby Richard Serra (Right Angle Prop)—which was made exclusively for Photorama 2016—may seem an odd choice for a blog post focused on bodies. Yet lately, I’ve been really interested by rhetorics of instruction and tutorial, and how these communicate bodily movements in different ways. Luong’s how-to guide for building a Serra replica approximates an IKEA instruction manual, complete with cut lines, directive arrows, and the classically ‘neutral’ cartoon figure that pieces it all together. A lot about this work makes me really happy, from the cheekily diminutive title to the mini-version of Gallery TPW in the bottom right corner (!!!), complete with our garage door. That’s right, if you’re having trouble putting your Baby Serra together, you can call us anytime. We’re happy to help.