Magazine article Artforum International

Katie Grinnan: ACME. (Reviews: Los Angeles)

Magazine article Artforum International

Katie Grinnan: ACME. (Reviews: Los Angeles)

Article excerpt

Although I might wish for the death of photography almost every time I have to stomach it in a gallery (despite my whorish delectation of photographs daily), I think the idea of the death of any medium is absurd. This, however, is very different from being interested in artists who destroy and deconstruct their medium in order to reconfigure, recycle, or renew it. Katie Grinnan uses photographs as material for sculpture and plumbs how photography's use of color, shadow, light, and space changes when it forms a physical interior or exterior. Folded or bent space, actual space, and remembered space are activated and collapsed in different ways throughout her work.

Take Phantom Limb (all works 2003): A tree branch forces its way out of the gallery wall, supported by a cord from above and wooden "crutch" from below. A weird nest constructed from palm fronds, its bottom covered with ripped photocollage, rests on the limb. A gray cutout strip of photo adheres to the wall, in part a photographic representation of the crutch's shadow; actual shadows from gallery lights crisscross it. Does the title refer to an absent limb unavailable to human vision, to the various "limbs" of the "crutch" and photographic "shadow"? Is it a commentary on the phantom limb-like prosthetic relation we have to photography and the way our view of the world is affected by its viral insinuation into all realms? On the unseen that supports the seen, and the representations of the world that help make it up? Ecologist Grinnan's recycling of materials and media demonstrates the cyclical aspect of seeing and of making.

Part of the magic of Grinnan's work is that the seriousness of her investigations still permits a rambunctious deployment of color, parlayed into the ur-forms of privacy associated with childhood: forts, tree houses, makeshift teepees, all fantasy structures of independence and individualization. …

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