Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Mimetic Labors"

by Jennifer Weigel

"Mimetic Labors"

Good Citizen Gallery, St. Louis, MO
January 15-February 13, 2010

Kinetic artworks can often provide a forum in which to ponder technology, movement, human impact & invention, and the ephemeral, and Karin Hodgin Jones’ works are no exception. In "Mimetic Labors," her series of Tug sculptures utilize motors, pulleys and strings to gently pull and stretch both taut and loose fabrics in a rhythmic manner that is positively mesmerizing.

Karin Hodgin Jones. Tug (breath). 2010. Motors, Fabric, Wood, String, 6'x2'x2'’.
Photograph courtesy Good Citizen Gallery.

Karin Hodgin Jones. Detail: Tug (breath). 2010. Motors, Fabric, Wood, String, 6'x2'x2'’.
Photograph courtesy Good Citizen Gallery.



The regularity of these repeated movements alludes to both man-made and natural patterns. These processes then become seemingly congruent, and several of these works seem alive despite (or maybe in part because of) the exposure of the working mechanisms, that are visually as much a part of the works as the effects generated by them. Tug (breath) in particular exemplifies this, evoking a sense of both living (in the rhythmic, poetic pattern of movement as seen in the suspended taut fabric) to nonliving or artificial life (in the less concise movements and spillages of the loose fabric on the floor below).

Karin Hodgin Jones. Tug (vertical). 2009. Motors, Pulleys, Fabric, Wood, String, 6'x22'x2’.
Photograph courtesy Good Citizen Gallery.


Most impressive is Tug (vertical), a wall-scale artwork in which multiple machines gently pull at taut fabric from behind. Their mechanisms can be seen only as vague shadows and movements from behind the fabric and their effects are remarkably subtle. This piece in particular demands one’s attention with its immense size but requires more minute study in order to fully appreciate its delicacy and sensuality.

Karin Hodgin Jones. detail: Tug (vertical). 2009. Motors, Pulleys, Fabric, Wood, String, 6'x22'x2’.
Photograph courtesy Good Citizen Gallery.



As with all kinetic artworks, still images and written descriptions can barely begin to touch on what it is like to observe these works firsthand. "Mimetic Labors" is a show well-worth experiencing and demands to be absorbed over time, offering a captivating glimpse into a world that seems to linger at the edge of man’s influence and the natural order.
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"Mimetic Labors" remains on view through February 13, 2010 at the Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63104. 314/348-4587. Gallery hours: F-Sat. 12-5 p.m. and by appointment.
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St. Louis-based multi-media artist Jennifer Weigel is a member of Art Saint Louis and serves on our Program Committee. Her works are currently featured in “Sense of Self,” Columbia Art League, Columbia, MO (January 14-31, 2010), and “Unparalleled Fiber,” Soulard Art Market & Contemporary Gallery, St. Louis, MO (January 15-31, 2010).

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