Fluentcollab: My Wicked Twisted Sense of Love

Posted on Friday 27th November, 2009

Katri Walker - My Wicked Twisted Sense of Loveby Kate Watson
fluentcollab.org

Love, that uniquely human quagmire, is riddled with fantasy, illusion and humor. My Wicked Twisted Sense of Love, the current show at Women and Their Work, is filled with all sorts of odd gesticulations and gimmicks that strive towards the belly of the beast. The pieces fail to offer up any sort of unified commentary on this most difficult topic, but I assume that’s the point. There’s a lot of humorously awkward vulnerability in the work, an approach that certainly cuts to the crux of how most of us feel as we dance this crazy, lifelong two-step.

A clumsy sense of desperation radiates throughout the show. Of all the work, Katri Walker’s State of the He/Art (Serenata) (2006) rings most vibrantly. Walker, an artist living and working in both Glasgow and Mexico City, dons a giant sombrero and sings a half-hearted lament in front of video footage of her ex’s mariachi band. She swigs tequila and quietly channels the machismo-laden energy of her former lover’s music. I yearn for the video to culminate in an all-out rage fest, but no catharsis comes. Walker stays coolly on the edge of the breakdown, for better or for worse.

Anthony Romero’s Personal Journeys: Shaman Video Dating Service (2009) also toys with fantasy and character as a means of exploring our desperation for intimacy. Romero explores a wild variety of personas via an artist-fabricated Internet dating service he designed exclusively for other worldly creatures (all played by Romero). The website, on display via computer in the exhibition space, sits adjacent to individual single-channel videos of some of the characters. Romero’s investigation of this cultural phenomenon—the matchmaking site—is intriguing. JDate. Pagan Partners. Philanderers International. As these virtual hunting grounds become more and more sophisticated, the odds that even the hyper bizarre can find their soul mate are increasing exponentially. The work also highlights the tension between the solo act of surfing and that of performing a public persona for potential matches, a conundrum magnified tenfold by the absurdity of Romero’s video profiles.

It’s impossible to avoid the gaudy spectacle of Laura Ann Meyer’s hyper pink installation, Crush (2009). This giant crepe paper heart looks like the spirit of Saint Valentine got wasted on Flirtinis and vomited onto the wall; needless to say, the imagery is a bit heavy handed. But after recovering from my pink vertigo, I couldn’t help but fall for the symbolic crux of the piece; as we learn from the curatorial statement, it’s actually a visually deconstructed parody of a prom corsage. What stranger act is there as a young teen than getting “pinned” by your acne-covered neighbor who is just dying to touch your boob? The desperation of that bizarre and antiquated tradition oozes from Meyer’s piece. Crush is equal parts tragic and nauseating. I would drink some Pepto Bismo if it weren’t that same infernal shade of pink.

My Wicked Twisted Sense of Love is an ambiguous gesture towards intimacy. Castro herself expresses a very transparent desire to reach out: for the opening, she mailed invitations, half of them in “love letter” format, half in “break-up letter” format. Like the artists in the show, the curator seems to be tiptoeing towards the personal yet stays planted in the fictional. I say let it all hang out.

Kate Watson is an Austin-based writer, curator and artist. She is the cofounder of Circulatory System and a founding member of Austin Video Bee.

Read original review online here

Katri Walker - My Wicked Twisted Sense of Love