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Obscured Elements:
Ellen Garvens, Gerri Ondrizek

Solomon Fine Art
Seattle WA Feb 11-Mar 19, 2004

Ellen Garvens – Narrow [detail]
Ellen Garvens, Narrow [detail] (2003), ink jet print [Solomon Fine Art, Seattle, WA, Feb 11-Mar 19]

Obscured Elements is an exhibition by two women artists who work with vulnerable and unseen aspects of the human body. Oregon textile artist Gerri Ondrizek addresses the hidden genetic patterns in our DNA and Washington photographer Ellen Garvens takes pictures of armatures for prosthetic structures. Both artists bring unknown elements of human existence to a place where they can be exposed for public confrontation.

Gerri Ondrizek created her fabric sculptures and installations with pieces of linen and silk that she embroidered and painted with fictional patterns of DNA in her family lineage. These pieces evolved from earlier work using stem cells and cellular tissues. They serve as symbols and "soft" scientific allegories that tell the tale of her family tree. Her use of fabrics and traditional women’s techniques binds these genetic narratives to a distinctly feminine voice.

Gerri Ondrizek – A Boy’s Chromosomes (detail)
Gerri Ondrizek, A Boy’s Chromosomes (detail) (2002), embroidery and ink on linen [Solomon Fine Art, Seattle, WA, Feb 11-Mar 19]

By photographing the inside structures of prosthetic devices, Ellen Garvens brings a new treatment of the body to public attention. Viewers are confronted with torn and tattered inanimate objects that mimic the original body parts. Her images, undisguised and centered in their picture planes as if they were portraits, speak with a stern and silent truth.

Ondrizek is a professor of art at Reed College while Garvens is a photography professor at the University of Washington School of Art. Each has a brilliant series of exhibitions and reviews to her credit.

Allyn Cantor

 Sat, Feb 14, 2004