Saturday, August 18, 2012

being there

Jill Musnicki's what comes around, Parrish Road Show

Jill Musnicki
what comes around
Parrish Road Show

Jill Musnicki grew up on the East End in a family that has worked the land here for four generations. Her installation, what comes around, on view inside the Engine Barn at the Bridgehampton Historical Society through Sunday, examines the (heretofore invisible) intersection where wildlife and humankind crisscross. The results are poignant, fleeting, and, dare I say, Warholian, harkening back to his landmark films like Empire.

From May to August of this year, Musnicki monitored five motion-activated digital cameras that she placed strategically in locations across the East End. She was especially interested in how the landscape had morphed over time, especially in the areas she played in as a child, and even more so where they had survived more or less free from developers. The results: over 150,000 still images of things that move in and among the wild -- deer, mice, trains, humans, foxes, and, of course, that ubiquitous opossum.

Well known for her paintings of earthly and aquatic things, when the Parrish Art Museum's Curator of Programs, Andrea Grover, invited Musnicki to participate in The Parrish Road Show this summer, the artist was excited to implement an idea based in photography that had been brewing for some time.


In what comes around, Musnicki dabbles at the edge of voyeurism, leaving out the sorts of pre-texts -- ironic detachment, politics, cultural criticism, artifice -- that often accompany contemporary art installations. In doing so, she manages to elicit one of the most unmodern dispositions, sincerity, with rigor, acuity, and not a shred of sentimentality.

There is, however, a deep sense of nostalgia at play in Musnicki's reconnaissance mission. It speaks to the interface between kingdoms -- the one we occupy as humans, often with tremendous imperiousness, and the one in which animal habitats are subject to us, to civilization, and to the march of time.

Musnicki's "truthcam" presides over this schism with a delirious clarity.

Don't miss what comes around -- on view only today and tomorrow, 11am - 5pm.

Bravo to the Parrish for once again thinking outside the box in The Parrish Road Show!

No comments: