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Installation view of Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E  on opening day

Installation view of Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E on opening day [Henry Art Gallery, Seattle WA, Oct 11-Apr 26] Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit

Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E

Henry Art Gallery
Seattle WA – Sep 5-27, 2014

Installation view of Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E  on opening day

Installation view of Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E on opening day [Henry Art Gallery, Seattle WA, Oct 11-Apr 26] Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit

Installation view of Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E  on opening day

Installation view of Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E on opening day [Henry Art Gallery, Seattle WA, Oct 11-Apr 26] Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit

Ann Hamilton has transformed the entire Henry Art Gallery with newly commissioned work that is loosely about the interdependence between humans and animals, as well as about the finitude and threatened extinctions shared across species. Hamilton is an internationally recognized artist, known for her large-scale multimedia installations.

For this gallery-wide exhibit, she used the University of Washington’s holdings and, during her fellowship there, explored the collections of animals held by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Hamilton also drew from the UW University Libraries Special Collections and the Henry’s holdings of costumes, textiles and photographs to create a sensory experience for visitors that is periodically animated with readings and singing.

Images of animals and animal parts make up a large portion of this exhibit. Hamilton covers the gallery walls from floor to ceiling with salon-style hangings of multiple images of creatures from the Burke’s collections. Her compelling and ethereal imagery has been generated by scanning the specimens. The resulting representations are partially blurred close-ups and fragmented depictions that reiterate our disconnection to so many species. Hamilton layers multiple copies of these scans on gallery walls, inviting visitors to reconnect with these once-living beings by tearing off images to keep.

Other ways that Hamilton reflects on the feelings of closeness and distance between human and non-human animals include her tactile garments of wool, silk and hides stitched together with printed text, sound and voice.

Allyn Cantor


 Sun, Nov 9, 2014