Molly Mac Fedyk: “home, please.” Artist Talk and Closing Party Tonight at TaRLA
Tonight is the closing party and informal artist talk with artist Molly Mac Fedyk at TaRLA Transdimensional Art Portal, the new art gallery in my house in Seattle’s Central District. Molly’s video and sound installation “home, please.” will be open from 4 pm until late, and there will be an informal artist talk at 6 pm. Since opening on August 6, the exhibition and gallery have received some wonderful press from The Stranger and Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.
Molly Mac Fedyk is hesitant to explain her work in the form of anything resembling an artist statement. But unlike many artists with this hang-up, her reticence does not stem from an overall discomfort with verbal communication. On the contrary: by the time Fedyk’s work has become manifest in a physical object, she has already used language in extraordinarily fine-tuned and poetic ways to breathe precise and multifaceted meanings into her installations.
Each piece begins with a complex analysis of the intricate subtleties of a human interaction such as a conversation, an internal dialog, the unintentional communication of body language, or—as is most often the case—some combination thereof. Fedyk breaks these interactions down into their constituent elements and assigns them variables, mapping a two-dimensional algorithmic “score” of the interaction, which she then uses to construct a multimedia installation that investigates the mechanisms of ego, personality, and socialization that govern and give rise to such interactions. Finally, in a process more closely resembling artist Alex Hubbard’s time-based “paintings” than any cinematic antecedent, Fedyk casts cropped actors, sumptuous physical objects, and fragments of poetic language to act out her scores.
The protagonist in home, please. is forever in the process of making himself “at home” through two video loops of endlessly permutating action. The three colors that creep along the grid-like pattern of his shirt like painted lines correspond to the three color-coded cards containing poetic fragments, which in turn correspond to his internal dialog mechanisms: “endless ‘IF’ing,” “routine goodjobbing” and “healthy fizzing.”
The card texts are like mantras in that the sounds of the words are at least as important as the concepts they convey. It is helpful, for instance, for the viewer to repeatedly tell herself “goodjobgoodjobgoodjob” as the pink paths advance, in order to conjure an ideal headspace for identifying with the protagonist.
Molly Mac Fedyk’s work is highly intellectual and relies on invisible mechanisms of this process of coding and mapping to operate. But unlike much dry, cerebral art in this vein, everything she makes is teeming with seductive detail, both auditory and visual, and this is what attracted me to her work. A plump, red bowling ball falls suddenly onto a gold velvet cushion with a dull thud. The incessant hum of a refrigerator is interrupted by the sizzling fizz of an Alka-Seltzer in a glass shot at comically close range. Subtle synchronicities of color and jarring shifts in scale constantly shuffle our level of intimacy we are permitted with the scene we are invited to take part in. Fedyk is a “new media” artist—she recently received her MFA in Combined Media at Hunter College in NY and is all set to start The University of Washington’s DXARTS PhD program in the fall—but she is trained as a painter/printmaker and it shows.
Tonight is your last chance to see “home, please” in the space for which it was conceived. Installation opens at 4, artist talk at 6, party to follow. BYOB, bring something to grill and share.
TaRLA Transdimensional Art Portal is located on 21st Ave between Pine and Union in Seattle.