Thursday, March 29, 2007
Erica Lord review in TimeOut Chicago
Time Out Chicago / Issue 109: March 29–April 4, 2007
Polvo, through Sat 31.
Growing up in Alaska and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Erica Lord found herself in a frustrating situation: In the Great White North, because of her blue eyes, her peers told her she looked white, and in the UP, because of her skin tone and the shape of her eyes, she was told she looked native. Lord has Finnish, Indian, Eskimo, Japanese, Swedish and English blood, and her reaction to her heritage, and the way the world responds to it, can be felt in some of the pieces on display here.
Most readily in Tanning Project: four photos in a series of nude self-portraits where the artist has blocked out portions of her body with letters before tanning to create the phrases “Colonize Me” on her thigh, “Native Looking” on her arms, “Halfbreed” across her chest, and “I Tan to Look More Native” on her back. The latter image is particularly multitiered, as various questions arise about the aesthetics of skin tone and the strange rituals people undergo to alter their appearances. Additionally, the manner in which Lord is holding her hair on top of her head to reveal the message is pointedly sexual.
In the much larger digital print, Silence, Lord stands blurred in the foreground with a beaded moose-skin gag over her mouth that reads, “Silence.” The tall wind-blown grass in the background is in tight focus, giving the photo a strange kinetic energy. Coupled with the nearby triptych, Trash Totems, in which a silhouetted Lord stacks tires and other garbage at dusk, it raises an interesting suggestion: that beyond the confusion among the different people of the planet is the greater confusion among all the people and the planet itself.—Josh Tyson
5 : : : P O L V O : : :: Erica Lord review in TimeOut Chicago Time Out Chicago / Issue 109: March 29–April 4, 2007 Review Erica Lord Polvo, thr...