Melvile Library Gallery, Stony Brook University, January 30 – February 5, 2007
Here. Where is here? Is here a place? A state of mind? When we go ‘there,’ we always end up ‘here;’ yet always, everywhere, I am here and you are there. So where or what is ‘here’? Marinelli’s drawings ask these questions. As a group, the drawings depict landscapes- fallen trees, groups of twigs, meandering streams and heavy rounded boulders- though exactly where these landscapes exist is left to the viewer’s imagination. While suggesting places or landscapes, the drawings also show situations, bodies and memories.
Read as places, a strange sort of doubling or tripling occurs, taking several different but related forms. In some instances, the perspective becomes confused, and we can no longer distinguish what is in front from what is behind. This is particularly evident in creeks of 2007. A large boulder seems to divert a creek, though it is impossible to tell where the rock lies, in or next to the creek, or if it is even in the same space. In other instances, the landscapes take on human characteristics, bone and facial features appear, and groups of hibernating trees become figures, dancing about or imitating birds in a primordial mating dance, as in two drawings entitled “three trees,” both of 2006. Twisted, hunched, windblown, the figures dominate the bare landscape. In three trees (light), the characters may be having a conversation, or participating in some sort of marriage ceremony: the minister or Justice of the Peace presiding over a strange woodland rite. In three trees (dark) a mother scolds her saplings; a large bird teaches two smaller birds to sing. In other images, the marks begin to look like writing, perhaps a environmental manifesto set down in a shaky hand by an elderly gentleman in backwoods Virginia or upstate New York.
Whatever the content, the works in this show all seem to be driven by memory: childhood memories of forts, constructed in the backyard or living room; fairy tales and ghost stories, whispered to friends or siblings long after bedtime; walking through the park or having a picnic. The edges of the drawings are ragged, uneven and frayed, upsetting our sense of boundary in the works. Exactly where the drawing exists is difficult to determine: it becomes difficult to tell where the drawing ends and the wall begins. In Home IV, the troll has left his post under the bridge to nowhere, just at the moment when the already rickety structure begins to show its superfluous nature, and changes into a great, yawning mouth. Is this a memory of moving from there to here? With all images in Marinelli’s exhibition, as in life, ‘here’ is a subjective term, connoting place, direction, temporality and exchange. ‘Let’s meet here.’ ‘Come here.’ “Here I am.’ ‘Here you go.’ Viewers of Marinelli’s work find themselves transported to strange lands, while constantly finding that they have returned to the gallery, to the daily world: here in the work; here in the gallery; here on Long Island; here in the United States; here in the world; we are always stuck, here, locked in our bodies.
For more about Athena Latocha, and to view images of her current works, please visit her website.