Gobsmacked by Art

Like This or Like This

Shift Gallery, 312 S. Washington St. Seattle
Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon- 5 p.m.
Through Feb. 28th

 by Cynthia Hibbard

Jodi Waltier’s new Shift show and interactive art lab, Like This or Like This, began in her studio surrounded by colorful piles of decades’ worth of art materials–and her journal.

SFebBlog1he was thinking about a childhood experience and trying to re-boot her art practice after a string of family tragedies had consumed much of her year.

“Like this? Or, like this?” was what her ophthalmologist used to say to her when, as a young girl, she was being examined for glasses and he was trying to determine what strength of lenses she needed.

For Jodi, the phrase called to mind the process of discovery, of shifting through options and following one idea leading into the next.

Working entirely from the materials she had at hand, she began creating the diverse, vibrant and whimsical assortment of pieces that comprise her show.

“This show is about the process of discovery,” Jodi says.  “It’s about ideas begetting new ideas.  It’s about the flow from one experiment to the next.  Do they relate? Do they overlap? Does it matter? What is it teaching me?  It’s about trying to keep the practice of making art moving me somewhere.”

Staying in the flow of discovery, Jodi is continuing her art making at Shift by using the opportunity of her art lab to draw visitors into the process of manipulating bits of her materials and engaging them in informal discussions about art nurturing the human experience. While she works.

FebBlog2“This whole thing is about having the courage to just be yourself and show the world I’ll try all sorts of stuff out and this is basically my big experiment,” Jodi says.  “Each piece is giving me ideas for totally different bodies of work and I’m going to take some time to figure out if I’m going to explore any of those options.”

The explorations in her show range from a hand-stitched letter to Dr. Seuss, a lamp turned into sculpture paired with a large collaged portrait of the piece, a narrative series starring Pinocchio and Geppetto, another series of bunnies in different iterations, collages of precision wood-cutting debris, handsome abstract monotypes and encaustics, a hanging peace symbol sculpture made up of plastic soldiers paired with drawings of its shadows, and a large rendition of the word “Like” cut out of multiple layers of cardboard, with its mirror image floating onto the floor—and much more.

The fun Jodi had in creating her quirky collection of objects shines through in a big way.  Rabbits?  Well, it was the year of the rabbit so why not?

“As I trudged along, I started revisiting old journals and old art books and it seemed like everywhere I turned there was some sort of tidbit” of inspiration, she explains.  One made her laugh: “Get out of your own way.”

“I have walnuts in my cabeza,” begins her letter to Dr. Seuss.

In her art lab, Jodi will be working on a series of decorated ironing board frames to make up what she imagines will become a good neighbor fence.

“What constitutes a good neighbor? What constitutes a good neighbor’s fence,” she asks.  “It’s about a conversation.”

Following her intuition plus her love of lettering, Jodi created a string of hand-cut and glittered words mounted onto fringed paper, almost in the style of cheerleader pompoms, that encapsulate the exuberance of her art making.  They read, “ Happy Glad Giddy Peachy Chipper Gobsmacked Over the Moon Really?”

All the pieces in Jodi’s universe represent her process of moving forward with her art.  “It’s about strengths and weaknesses, research and development, patience and failure and epiphany and doubt,” she says. “It’s about never giving up.  It’s about hope.  It’s about being human.”

 

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