Nov 6th 2010

Jennifer Reeder: Tears Cannot Restore Her: Therefore, I Weep

@ Andrew Rafacz Gallery

835 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607

Opening Saturday, November 6th, from 4PM - 7PM

On view through Saturday, December 18th

Over the last decade and since her inclusion in the 2000 Whitney Biennial (with her iconic Nevermind, where the artist herself lip-syncs to “Smells like Teen Spirit” by the 90s grunge-rock band Nirvana), Jennifer Reeder has steadily built a body of work that explores gender, identity and relationships in an often strange, complicated world. Her works have also gotten progressively longer and more narrative and have been screened in countless film festivals around the world. This is her first solo gallery exhibition in seven years. She has returned with the world premiere of a new film work and sculptural replications of props from past, present and imagined future films.

Tears Cannot Restore Here: Therefore I Weep, the title of the exhibition and the new film that is central to it, continues to explore social, political and personal identities, concerns she has had since early works such as the acclaimed White Trash Girl. The narrative depicts a female sign language interpreter that is translating a science class on electromagnetism for the deaf. It becomes clear early on that she is distressed over a lover who has left her. She begins to mistranslate the professor’s factual articulation of scientific history into reflections on her own personal history of her failed relationship. The romantic tone is heightened by the use of simple animations and an uneasy soundtrack. Music often plays a significant role, as background and foreground, in Reeder’s films (in Tears, Nicolette Larson’s popular 1978 hit “Lotta Love” is later referenced when one of the character’s announces “I fucking hate Neil Young,” the song’s composer).

Reeder has also, for the first time, installed sculptures in Gallery One that reference her filmmaking career. She has created five props, some of which figure prominently in past films and others that point to possible later projects. A severed foot, a clown nose, clown hands, an E.T. doll and a pair of tchotchke beavers have all been cast in bonded marble and sit on artist-made pedestals that resemble refined versions of prop tables. On shelves attached to and leaning up against the walls are stacks of found and donated vinyl LPs, each set carefully curated by the artist, and then each individual record sewn sealed with a variance of colored felts. The results are simultaneously conceptual and painterly.

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