Jul 1st 2011

Jenny Kendler: Solastalgia

@ Johalla Projects

1561 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Opening Friday, July 1st, from 7PM - 10PM

On view through Wednesday, July 6th

In Solastalgia, Kendler continues to consider humans beings’ relationship with the natural world through the lens of feminism, modern ecology & environmental activism. Works in the show focus on the complexity of issues such as extinction, habitat loss, mutualism and climate change. While cross-pollinating genres and mediums, Kendler draws us emotionally and viscerally nearer to nature—to rekindle feelings of interconnectedness and wonderment.

According to philosopher Glenn Albrecht, ‘solastalgia’ is “the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place […] one loves is under immediate assault…a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at home.”

In her practice, Kendler explores how human activity has changed our beloved landscapes. She reinvents the idea of ‘the Naturalist,’ who historically scouted and cataloged a vastly different natural world of pristine vistas, unfathomable fecundity, and deep mystery. Though mystery and beauty remain writ large in our contemporary natural world, solastalgia creeps in at the borders, affecting us even when we are unsure what is at work.

Solastalgia’s central work is a cyclorama depicting an arctic ecosystem out of balance. The 15 ft ring of translucent film is suspended in the middle of the room; its detailed sequential drawings referencing an emakimono scroll. Other works include pennants with lacy cut-outs of extinct animals, tiny hand-sculpted figures holding miniature versions of these pennants, and a pyramid of sea urchins, conceived as a monument to ocean acidification.

These paintings on translucent film, delicate drawings and miniature sculptural terrariums—employ the language of myth & magic, and use fragility, ornamentation and intricacy to echo the subtle and mysterious relationships of the natural world.

With Solastalgia, Kendler presents her intimate drawings and sculptures as a counterpoint to the view of nature as something to be possessed. She suggests instead, that it is we who are possessed by nature.

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