Adapting is hard. Adapting is ugly. And if you’ve ever dropped your kid off at his first day of school—or if you’ve been that kid yourself, rubber-legging it down the hall to a new, foreign classroom—then you’ve felt the awful, psychic thrum of the threshold. There is an emotional horror-scape that exists between your old life and your new identity, and crossing it is traumatic. If this feeling had a spirit animal, it would be some thwarted, emerging specie, struggling mightily through a mutation and frozen halfway.
Undertow (the Clues), Rebecca Krinke
In fact, it might look like Rebecca Krinke’s new sculptural installation: an armless human whose torso tapers into a flat, platypus-like tail. The piece, which rests atop a battered old cabinet with drawers full of black bound notebooks, is not pretty. It is alarming and a little grotesque. But it’s presented reverently, as evidence. Like Krinke’s past work, it has the disinterred feeling of an archeological find. Consider it an anxiety mummy.
Krinke’s cabinet sets the tone, quiet and ghostly, for the Rosalux collective’s first show of the year, Undertow. She exhibits with Elaine Rutherford, a multidisciplinary artist interested in passage and boundary, especially as it applies to exiled and immigrant peoples. Usually, this territory lends itself to scolding identity politics. But happily, Krinke and Rutherford here stick to a more universally relatable rumination: the swirling morass of time, memory, coping, and transcendence.
Rutherford, who trained in Scotland, has a mom who collects porcelain figures. She resurrects this image from her childhood in Ce Que Vous Cherchez, a small boudoir shelf crammed with amorphous gobs of wax, smudged photographs, and a single-channel video display. The French title—“What You’re Looking For”—conjures an image of a grown woman crawling through the rooms of her past.
Undertow will make you feel—not sad, necessarily, but nostalgic, reflective, and maybe a little proud. Because some of us have made it through some tough transitions. Some of us still occupy the threshold. But Krinke and Rutherford seem to suggest that, maybe, the in-between is an advantageous place to be.
Opening reception Saturday, January 5
Anthropology professor Stuart McLean and English professor Cynthia Malone react to the work
Saturday, January 26
Rosalux Gallery, 1400 Van Buren St. NE, Ste. 195, Mpls.