Monday, November 14, 2011

Jodi Birdwell

Jodi Birdwell, Recap. Four vintage typewriters, four vintage boxes, four vintage stools, four vintage paper lanterns, Victorian rug. 2011.]

Elaine and I took a drive this weekend to see an exhibition of Jodi Birdwell’s work, “Love Letters to Cy . . . and other notes.” Cy is Cy Twombly, and Birdwell’s work bears traces of his in the form of faint inscriptions. But her work is really her own. Her materials often suggest a garage or workshop: house paint, plywood, casters and furniture knobs. These paintings and installations seem to be working out a grammar of forms: birds and elephants; cups and pots; sausage shapes that begin to resemble socks; dome-like shapes that suggest bowls, cradles, igloos, lamps, planets, and tents. Walking around the gallery became ever more interesting as the family resemblances among paintings became more noticeable. I noticed resemblances too in some of the written elements in paintings: biRb and biRd, and a list of rhymes: pail, kale, and so on.

Missing from these photographs is the warmth of this installation: the Christmas lights on the floor function like a campfire for this gathering of typewriters big and small, out under a paper moon and stars.

Jodi Birdwell
“Love Letters to Cy . . . and other notes”
The Merwin & Wakeley Galleries
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington, Illinois
November 8 – December 8, 2011

Further reading and viewing
Jodi Birdwell (artist’s website)
The Merwin & Wakely Galleries

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