Surf and Turf is an exhibition of primarily multi-media work from three contemporary female artists. Each artist is currently working in a different region of the United States, Dolence in Seattle, Holt in Detroit, and Schreiner in New York. For Surf and Turf, Soil Gallery has brought together this trifecta of new media artists, exuding beauty, pain, confusion, fetish, and manifestations of meditative states (with a lot of glitter on the side). The show consists of digital prints, and video projection. I entered this space which exists at the border of Seattle’s International District and historic Pioneer Square on a particularly sweltering day last week. After navigating the bodies of sleeping transients dotting the surrounding blocks, I was met with the work within Soil, which created an environment both calming and jarring all at once.
Particularly well crafted is the physical installation of Jessica Dolence’s “Wet” Land’s digital animation; a perfectly placed projection on a large square floor pedestal, the projection placed with a mirror, fitting the edges of the pedestal. This presentation added a dimension to the piece that otherwise is not present to the casual viewer (or within the realm of venues like Vimeo). The piece is removed from its nonlinear, flowing structure, appearing like a hallucination of grandiose just raised above the gallery floor. A completely physical experience of texture, movement, and color. Dolence’s other piece in the show, “Caviar Nursery” also references a sort of imaginary space of beauty, but lacks the depth of “Wet” Land. Her works are the most literal manifestation of the galleries Surf and Turf thematic.
Trisha Holt’s photographic images present a fragmented sense of reality and the body, playing with concepts of photoshop and inclusion of bodily extensions. Holt presents four dreamlike photos depicting saturated environments which confuse the figure and cause the viewer to question depth. Crumpled and taped paper serves as the backdrop for Holt’s chaotic “t&a”. A shattered figure sits at the threshold of gender and appears in a pose likened to classical painting. This setup is injected with pop colors and commonplace objects, achieving an image all at once familiar and strange.
The most captivating works of the show are Erica Schreiner’s looped video projections “Erase” and “the Tale of the Bravest Warrior”. At their core, these pieces are performances for the camera, presenting a body in interaction with things. Schreiner’s pink glitter nail polished hands craft a still life to be boiled in the first video and the second reveals a close up on the artist’s mouth, painfully and slowly consuming butterflies. The strength of these videos lies in the quality and manipulation of each constructed image. Schreiner completely creates scenarios that shouldn’t exist in everyday mundane motions. Each moment prods at concepts of beauty and perfection. Expectations associated with certain imagery are quickly diverted, creating an altogether disturbing, stimulating, and serious sequence of interactions.
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-Contributed by Emily Gorman