Synopses & Reviews
A marvelously bold interdisciplinary anthology, It Is Almost That collects works by women artists and writers who have constructed hybrid environments that merge image and text. The works in this collection are supremely imaginative in both form and content: from the semi-autobiographical novel painted by a young artist who died in the Holocaust (Charlotte Salomon) to Alison Knowles' computer-generated chance operation for imagining houses and their inhabitants; from the pseudo-scientific examination of a conversation between a mother and a daughter (Eleanor Antin) to the dark, comic interrogation of violence against women (Sue Williams); from the transformations of newspaper headlines (Suzanne Treister) to the probing of animal consciousness (Cole Swensen & Shari De Graw); from the body maps drawn by South African women with AIDS (Bambanani Women's Group) to the alchemical transformation of the pregnant body into an evolving landscape and philosophical meditation (Susan Hiller). Other contributors to It Is Almost That include Fiona Banner, Louise Bourgeois, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Cozette de Charmoy, Ann Hamilton, Jane Hammond, Dorothy Iannone, Bhanu and Rohini Kapil, Helen Kim, Ketty La Rocca, Bernadette Mayer, Adrian Piper, Charlotte Salomon, Genevieve Seille, Molly Springfield, Erica Van Horn & Laurie Clark, Carrie Mae Weems, Hannah Weiner and Unica Zurn.
"The title, taken from artists Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's contribution, pertains to the overall sense of 'indeterminacy' and 'boundlessness' in the chosen works of 26 female artists, each introduced by personal, inspirational, or abstract quotations. Many works are highly effective, especially in this format, which successfully depicts all media, including photography, painting, and installation. Though it is arguably Louise Bourgeois who epitomizes the 'image+text' creed with the affecting and darkly humorous 'He Disappeared Into Complete Silence.' Narrative is key, celebrating the 'beauty in banality,' whether in Adrian Piper's engaging personal account as part of her 'Political Self-Portrait' series, Suzanne Treister's social commentary in 'Alchemy,' or the absurdist prose of 'India Notebooks' by Bhanu and Rohini Kapil. Race, gender, sexuality, politics, and literature are prominent, best exemplified in Jane Hammond's 'Fallen,' an ode to soldiers in Iraq. Pearson outlines her own gender philosophies in art, along with the criteria for her self-confessed 'surprising selection,' omitting 'obvious choices,' to create an introspective, free-flowing collection that 'will incite more questions than answers.' Such is the nature of art, and a testament to this fine anthology. Over 250 b&w illustrations.
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