Tussle in Shorthand
Meiro Koizumi, Shawn Patrick Landis,
Raul Ortega Ayala, and Hugh Walton

Curated by Yoko Ott

April 5–29, 2007

Opening Reception: 5-8pm
First Thursday, April 5, 2007

The exhibition Tussle in Shorthand presents a selection of projected and single-channel DVD works by artists who employ mechanisms that assist them in interpreting or coping with their physical or psychological environments. Through extreme bodily gestures, nasty mind games, humor, and fantasy, the works present a truncated language for struggle, a makeshift manner for managing, and a system of communication articulated with visual fluency.

Meiro Koizumi, Art of Awakening, 2005
Single-Channel DVD 9 minutes
Koizumi’s (b.Tokyo, 1976) work is an adventure into an imaginary world where corporeality and intangibility arm-wrestle until a stunning work of disturbed fantasy emerges. ”Do you want to feel the Freedom of Spirit?” This invitation by the artist is the first move in a mysterious exercise played until guests succumb to a pleasure we can only assume is the anticipated deliverance. A final twist reveals what sinister edge lies behind this instruction, as the subjects become puppets not only for the artist, but also for our own questions of pleasure, perversion, and humiliation.

Hugh Walton, F.T.A.R.x6, 2004
Projected DVD 23 seconds
Born in France (1972) and currently living and working in New York, Hugh Walton explores, through his art, frustrations with learning as a youth and continued creative dissatisfaction as an artist. In F.T.A.R.x6 the artist becomes a human typewriter violently spelling out these aggravations against the blank page of a studio wall. Superbly edited, the artist’s chagrin enacts an elegant soundtrack rhythmically drawing the viewer in, its brevity amplifying the strength of expression and communication.

Raul Ortega Ayala, A chair, a suit and rubber bands manipulated to make a video — Calf Roping, 2003
Projected DVD 11 minutes 29 seconds
Calf Roping, from Ortega Ayala’s Bureaucratic Sonata series, looks at issues of control and manipulation found in everyday office work. Wrestling a plastic office chair into submission, a suited worker is victorious, humor conquers, and one is led to recall one’s own plight with uncomfortable office chairs and unpleasant co-workers alike. Ortega Ayala’s art focuses on varied habitual themes studied during “immersions”, in which the artist completely submerges himself in situations for the purpose of research. Ortega Ayala (b. Mexico City, 1973) lives and works in London.

Shawn Patrick Landis, Two Brothers of the Same Tree, 2007
Projected DVD 3 minutes 30 seconds
Seattle artist Shawn Patrick Landis (b.Portland, OR, 1973) has created a new work especially for this exhibition. Continuing ideas explored in his most recent work, Landis sets in motion a circular impractical action, revealing metaphors that can be found in such actions. In Two Brothers of the Same Tree, the artist balances on the edge of a plank, slowly sawing until he is cut off from the plank, plunging into an abyss. Suspended alone, the artist is left struggling to free himself. Interested in questions of taking responsibility for past actions, guilt, and the collective unconscious, Landis’s re-enactment of this staged hanging becomes the action for which the artist contemplates self-liberation and denouncement of passive acquiescence.

Hours: Noon-5pm Friday-Sunday,
or by appointment.

Next Exhibition:

Natalie Schmidt Dotzauer
(more info)


Meiro Koizumi

Hugh Walton

Raul Ortega Ayala

Shawn Patrick Landis