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Review: Shelley Jordon’s ‘(Lost) in the Woods’ at the White Box Gallery

Friday, November 07, 2014

 

(Lost) in the Woods, (image cropped)

Both quiet and eerie, Shelley Jordon and Kurt Rohde’s newest collaboration of work at White Box Gallery is a journey into an alternate space.  Titled “(Lost) In The Woods”, the exhibition combines video, sculpture, and paper works by Jordon with sound by Rohde and spans three separate rooms.  

Jordon’s artwork, although it crosses genres, is all connected thematically and visually through its use of the imagery of nature and trees.  Inspired by her time in the woods at the Lucas Artist Residency at Montalvo Arts Center in California, the work ranges from painted ink works depicting bark to videos of drawn insects projected onto a log, as in “Host Log”.  There are several videos in the exhibition, and they are presented in a variety of ways.  “Spanky’s Walk in the Woods”, a disorienting video shot from a dog’s body and a human’s body as they walk through a wooded area, is playing on two small screens next to each other, while the animated video “In the Woods (Lost)” is projected over a wall painted with outlined images of trees. In one of the rooms, there are four separate video works all playing at the same time on separate walls, and in another, one video work, “Shinrin-Yoku”, takes up four walls of simultaneously playing video, completely surrounding and engulfing the viewer.  

All of these works have the effect of disorienting and dislocating the viewer in space.  The effect is most jarring and intense in “Shinrin-Yoku”, the video installation that takes up an entire room.  

Shinrin-yoku, (image cropped)

Projected onto the complete area of each of the four walls, the video is a combination of footage of a shaky walk through a forest and animated scenes of a swimming woman and fluttering insects.  Every couple of minutes, the walk becomes dizzying, as the video surrounding you spins and turns and descends into madness, leading into the animated sections.  In the center of this room is a sink filled with water, and projected into the water is the same swimming woman, endlessly lapping back and forth across the sink.  All the while, Kurt Rohde’s haunting and dissonantly beautiful sounds play in the background.      

“Shinrin-Yoku” is a full experience that leaves the viewer floating in a virtual forest, constantly searching for resolution that the looping video does not provide.  There is a sense of psychological and emotional turmoil, of confusion, and of a loss of self. Within the installation, as in the title of the exhibition, you too will be lost in the woods.  

'(Lost) In The Woods' is at the White Box Gallery, 24 Northwest 1st Ave., Portland, open Tuesday-Saturday 12 PM-6 PM. 

 

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