TSA Essay: Jukkala and Rosenthal

Wow, it's been over a month, folks...so here's a little taste of some recent writing I've been doing. This is an essay I was asked to do, for the June show at Tiger Strikes Asteroid: Clint Jukkala and Mia Rosenthal.

(below, Mia Rosenthal, General Mills 8-pack

There are places to which none of us can ever go…or return. The past; others’ heads; the womb; the place to where loved ones have crossed over. Likewise, we all have talismans which impart a certain sense; a sliver of the unreachable place. For Mia Rosenthal, her straightforwardly sweet simulacrums of sent and received postcards impart a second, more spiritually acute layer to an already powerful metaphor for those places we cannot go, or cannot be, or are not – and those people who inhabit them, or are passing through before us. On the uncomfortable cusp of welcoming a new life, Rosenthal found comfort in celebrating a recently-departed life, painstakingly reinterpreting the talisman of shared postcards – those small purchased icons of travel and exoticism; the skimmed-off leftovers of a life’s memory.
For every sensory sliver from place to place, a vector is needed, and Rosenthal also sensed this correctly by making a postmortem catalog of part of her aunt’s stamp accumulation – bringing some coherence to what had been a haphazard habit in waking life. An even smaller icon of the connections between unlikely places, stamps like postcards, being quickly outmoded as they are, also impart a sense of nostalgia and whimsy to what could be an otherwise dour examination of life’s ends and passings.
An even more familiar rectangle, along with postcards and stamps, is the doorway. Likewise a domestic and familiar limnal presence, doorways are an even more fragile and immediate skin between spaces. Stamps and postcards bring home some of the exotic and unreachable to us; doorways allow us to be more active in movement through. In a way, they could be seen as the negative to the postcard’s positive: the closed card a symbol of the desire for the open door. Clint Jukkala previously worked more with the positive – shakily digital renderings of top-heavy bouquet forms; or slowly branching, slow-motion fireworks. Recently though, Jukkala’s bouquets have dissipated and migrated to the edges, and suggest portals, or doorways; the promising rainbows enveloping and bordering, rather than blossoming or branching bouquet or fountain forms.
Rosenthal’s approach is talisman, but clear; Jukkala’s more at-hand icons on the other hand, is ironically, more ambiguous: are we entering or exiting those doorways; portals? But not unlike many of the color and square studies by Josef Albers, the spaces and ways through are infinitely commutable. The essence really is the movement through – the process – rather than the direction. No matter what space or place our life is finding form within, a human yearns for a little of another – and we will continue to find talismans for that yearning. Jukkala and Rosenthal have found related, but aesthetically divergent, ways into that yen.

Check out their portfolios: Clint Jukkala and Mia Rosenthal

Jeffrey W. Bussmann  – (Thursday, 10 June, 2010)  

A very nice appraisal of Mia Rosenthal's work. I really, really liked her General Mills 8 Pack at Projects. I will have to get to Tiger Strikes Asteroid to see more!

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