Saturday, March 19, 2011


By: Sara Murphy
This weekend is your last chance to catch the solo exhibition, It Equals Light and the Unknown, by video artist, Stephanie Dodes at Splatterpool Artspace in Brooklyn. Unveiling two video installations and mixed media artwork at the Williamsburg gallery catering to emerging Brooklyn based artists, the unpretentious garage space is the perfect backdrop for a woman humorously exploring dreams and poetic imagery. Though Dodes is a native New Yorker, her background ranges from east meeting west; receiving her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute, she came back east to curate for The Big Screen Project in NYC, but shot much of her video content in California.

Her solo New York debut presents two speculative fictions. The larger is a three-channel installation entitled, Everything for Nothing. Three large screens project surreal images of a group of young women clad in nude unitards, navigating a communal dream that includes images of crystals, cake, tigers and the ocean. Challenging traditional Western perceptions of time, Dodes avoided using a linear structure. She sees Everything for Nothing as a reflection of society’s “collective symbolic memories,” encouraging viewers to question their own notion of “reality” in order to deconstruct the very term. Asked why she mainly uses women as her subjects, (except for when she injects male drag-queens into the mix), her response: "It's a way for me to play with the idea," and then quotes Judith Butler (an American Post-Structuralist Philosopher who specializes in feminism and queer theory), "All gender is a form of drag."

The other work, Veiled Shadows, is a nine-channel installation designed for individual viewing. Enclosed within a prism shaped structure made of multiple black drop cloths, viewers again experience Dodes’ play with conventional notions of time—forced to “hear with their eyes” and “see with their ears.” The series of vignettes use gathered dialogue from ease dropping on stranger’s conversations to snippets of absurd quips from Dodes’ own father. A guessing game of matching soundscapes with video, the installation is quirky and not as conceptual as Everything for Nothing. Using recurring gestures to shatter and simultaneously reflect back the meaning each individual viewer creates when they watch, Veiled Shadows features many different female archetypes and men in drag to unpick the societal construction of gender.

A catalog with drawings, photographs, writings and poetry that accompanies the exhibit are available for purchase at the gallery and online HERE. It Equals Light and the Unknown is on this weekend at Splatterpool Gallery 138 Bayard St, (L train to Lorimer) Sat-Sun 1-6 pm or by appointment. For more details, click HERE.

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