Sunday, November 6, 2011

Carrie Lingscheit's Work Opens Narrative Doors at the MAPC Show

Carrie Lingscheit writes of her own work..."my recent works allude to the intractable nature of remembrance, creating open-ended, implied narratives that invite a visceral response in a way that parallels storytelling...".

This is certainly true of Lingscheit's Momento n. 9690 (muse) piece which is included in this year's Mid America Print Council Show at Benedictine University. Lingscheit has given us a woman in what would seem an uncomfortable position, or rather one that make us ill at ease, because the figure described in this print doesn't seem uncomfortable at all. Here, we see a woman dressed up in a nice blouse and skirt, her hair has been done up and she appears to be wearing high-heeled shoes. She is standing with her back to us, both arms are in back of her grasping the pole behind her. She leans forward just slightly and looks out into the unknown.  Well, that's where our image begins, but it certainly doesn't end there....

Carrie Lingscheit has placed this woman on top of a shingled roof of a building. The woman's arms clasp onto a weather vane, which points to all four corners of the globe, and is topped off not with the oft-seen rooster one encounters in the Midwest, but in this instance, it is a whale.
The figure is looking out into the unknown because we are just at the level of her feet and literally can't see from our vantage point what she is looking at.  This is all we do know. Here is where our narrative story-telling begins, because Lingscheit has deliberately left us at this juncture; to figure out the rest of the image and an applicable story or context.

Lingscheit has left this image open-ended, as she often does with her images. We are to fill in 
the visual gaps with our own summations, guesses and experiences. The sky is barren of detail, the woman's clothes are implied, but not fully described as have been her arms and legs and hair. We assume the female is a relatively young adult, not a child. We know she is on a rooftop clasping a weather vane, but nothing else is provided. 

Like any person who naturally wants to connect the dots and dashes of an implied line, so does the viewer need to apply that 'need' to Lingscheit's work. The viewer wants to fill in the gaps of information to complete Lingscheit's images. We want to fill in a story of our own and apply it to the sky, the woman's clothes and her shoes. We want to complete the image and can imagine several scenarios to do so. Yet, there are still elusive 'dots' or components of the image that make us question why is she on the rooftop? What is she doing grabbing onto a weather vane when it surely can't support her weight?Her wisps of hair escaping her bun suggests wind, but to what extent? Is she is Dorothy from "Wizard of Oz" standing upon her the roof of her old house looking at the land of oz? Is there a tornado looming off in the distance? What possible connection could the whale have to any of what I've just theorized? You see, the image conjures up several questions, but grants few answers. 

Yet, the artist has left a more subliminally-pointed question - why is the woman pointed in a direction other than the weather vane's normal four points? The woman is standing between the points of the weather vane. It would appear she is looking to chart her own course. That seems perfectly in keeping with Lingscheit's work. She is charting a new course for herself and her viewers; one of the untold story, where we can finish it on our own terms and connect our own dots. 

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