I was fist introduced to Jamie Vasta’s work last year at her solo show at Patricia Sweetow entitled: Mustn’t. I was completely blown away then and was so excited to see the new work. The latest show “kills” is also at the Patricia Sweetow Gallery from January 8th through February 14th, 2009. Initial responses – stunning, humorous, curious, a little frightening. Standing in front of all these images of young girls, proudly displaying their kills of deer and geese, I couldn’t help but try to imagine my own 8 year old self in their shoes. I was (am) such an animal lover. I would have recoiled in disgust. I would have seen these girls as my mortal enemies. I wondered what their lives were like. I judged them, I imagined and judged there parents. I thought about the book I’m reading right now – The Song of the Dodo, which is about island speciation and how animals isolated to small areas, like what is happening in over-developed areas around the globe, are doomed to extinction. With our ever expanding population, we are dooming the natural world and with it, ourselves. I imagined each one of these kills as the last of their species. The animals in Jamie’s paintings are so very dead, and the little girls seem so alive. I wondered, are they aware of their own inevitable extinction? Do they grasp their own mortality? Do they see these animals as trophies? objects?
The glitter work in this series is stunning. Jamie really knows how to push glitter around. At first I questioned the raw wood, or stained wood parts of the paintings in this series. They seemed less refined than her last series, as if they were rushed or not finished. I think the areas of rest in her paintings are just as important as the glitter parts, your eyes need a break from all that glitter, without the spaces, her work would seem more like objects instead of paintings. The story would be lost without a little breathing room. But these spaces, they puzzled me. The glitter parts of the pieces are so meticulously applied, why rush on the other parts. But then I thought about disintegration, and they do feel like they are disintegrating a bit. Like the world around the girl and the kill are dissolving before our eyes. Like the act of hunting and killing the animals, and a loss of innocence is the cause of the disintegration. The more I considered this idea, the more solid the paintings looked to me, the more they made sense. The images are of a type of disintegration. They need parts that don’t quite make sense. In the end I thought all of her choices in execution made sense for the imagery. I think you can especially see that in this piece:
Jamie has managed to blow me away again. I wish I wasn’t paying off student loans, I would love to take one of these home.