students in Colette Copeland's Critical Writing seminar post to artblog

Two such postings are below. For more, see roberta fallon and libby rosof's artblog.

Post by Meredith Weber

"Back to the Front" at the Slought Foundation is a new show featuring the work of emerging artists from the Philadelphia area (see Colette's post for more on this show). Many of the pieces are imaginative, and well worth the trip to University City.

Jessica Mein's "Calvino-Senhor Palomar Series," (detail above right) is the piece that offers the most visual and intellectual satisfaction. Mein's piece consists of several small canvases arranged in a grid-like format. Text covers the canvases (which are presumably from writer Italo Calvino's "Senhor Palomar"). Mein has obscured most of the print with a coat of cream-colored paint and haphazardly applied lines of white-out. The artist expands on her theme of cloaking, by carving small cut-outs of windows and doors into the layers of paper. Some of the windows open slightly towards us, allowing us to peek into the piece, but for the most part, the blinds are drawn and the text further obscured.

We are left dealing with multiple levels of obstruction. What words Mein has not covered with paint are in a language unfamiliar to most of us, so even the untouched is hard to interpret. She speaks of a world where we do not truly see much of what is in front of us. Mein's piece blends into the white walls of the gallery, so that from afar, we do not even realize that there is an incomprehensible literal under-layer.

Another piece from the exhibit that is worth checking out is Jennifer Goettner's playful "Signs of Life" (left).The work, drastically different from Mein's (and most of the other pieces in the show), is a series of bright road-like signs showing line figures carrying out some of the mundane actions that form our daily activities. Goettner clearly enjoyed making the observations that she translated into her art. The work is not particularly insightful, but it displays a sense of fun that is lost in much of the art that we see nowadays.

--Meredith Weber is a student at the University of Pennsylvania in Colette Copeland's class on writing about art.

Post from Sanja Benak

[Editor's note: artblog will be running a number of pieces from students in Colette Copeland's "Syntax of Art Writing" class at the University of Pennsylvania.]

At first, Pepon Osorio's "Trials and Turbulence" installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art doesn't give you the impression of art at all, up until you give it a second glance and see much more to it than expected.

Everything is placed to reflect the gradual process which a foster child has to go through when looking for a new home.

As you walk in, you see the cubicle (image above right) where the child probably spends some time just talking about his/her case with a social worker. Then the case goes to the offices, where the child's future is passed around on a bunch of papers for a very long period of time. During this time, all that a child can do is put his/her life on hold, and just ! wait with all the belongings packed and expect the good news - that may never come. Then in court, the child's life keeps being invaded by so many people who try to do the best they can, but who can never actually understand what is going on in this child's head and can never fullfill all the needs a child has.

Osorio carefully walks us through the different stages of a foster child's life and opens up our mind to something we hardly even think about. (For more posts on Osorio's installation, go here for Libby's post and here for Colette's post.)

--Sanja Benak is a student in Colette Copeland's "Syntax of Art Writing" class.