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issue no.
  january 22
c o n t e n t s
Tread Lightly and Carry a Big Beard: Two New Bands Enter the Scene
RED Reviews
Projecting Self: Erica Church Presents Myth and Video
Sundance and Sundon't: The Only Reason We Still Feel Special Rolls Into Town



Projecting Self
Erica Church Presents Myth and Video
by Stephanie Geerlings


he Crow Woman knows all of the stories but tells no story of her own. A fascinating concept to Erica Church, who has trouble recognizing herself in the mirror.

Church is the University of Utah’s only sculpture graduate student. She is an intellectual with a high sense of craftsmanship but has never done a piece about herself.

The Gittins Gallery, located in the Art Building on the U campus, plays host to many MFA shows. This week it is dedicated to the Church’s work. Her well-named thesis, “Dissimilar Likeness and Myths of Self,” is really two galleries in one.

“The pieces are about things I felt restricted by,” said Church, noting her personal challenge. She has been making things for almost all of her life and throughout demanded of herself that none of the pieces be autobiographical.

The show is about identity and it is more precisely about self-exploration in a cultural context, cultural concessions of image, emotion and personas as intrinsic methods of characters inherent in the self.

Church prefers a story which has no heroes—or at the very least the heroes are drug-addicted whores.

The first part of the gallery is filled with appropriated aboriginal mythical characters. She turns the parts of herself into artifact form to see what they had control over.

Unfortunately, the pieces don’t carry themselves on their own, but the spatial relations and forms make perfect sense after you’re told the myths. The “Rising Stone” is the foolish sun that goes from one place to another and never sees itself. The “Sinking Feather” is the moon constantly faced with its own mortality.

The “Crow Woman” wears tormented rags. Unfinished fabric lets its stitches fall to the floor. The Crow Woman, like Church, knows a lot, but what would she say if pressed about herself?

Church intermingles herself with her intrinsic but exaggerated characters. Some of her personas plague the Internet and have full histories and emotions.

For the second part of the gallery, her characters are rear-projected video of persona through a brief sitting. It shows the angst-ridden teenage girl painting her fingernails black, the aloof man sulking and four others. All of the characters are played by Church and are all parts of her.

The characters are in gaudy museum-like frames. The ubiquitous bench is a nice seat for an uninhibited voyeuristic experience.

“My high-falutin’ art dream is that artists will gather and support each other,” said Church in precious ballerina pose. “If we just got together we could pull ourselves out of this hole.”

Church is a fun, witty, pensive, intelligent person. You have an opportunity to meet her and her work in person at a reception on Thursday, Jan. 22, 5:30 through 7:30 p.m. in the Gittins Gallery.



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