The multi-staged, multi media piece incorporated adhering individual sheets of paper to the window, each carrying a portion of a window sized photo taken of the window by WOMS co-curator Matthew Slaats. The photo essentially depicts what the window saw via its reflection as Matthew was taking its picture: Matthew, standing in the street, camera to eye, some parked cars, and the Raindance boutique across the street. This treatment was repeated for the space's side window, and the window in the door.
The piece, from the start, was a temporary time based "performance" created by the window and the environment. (Karen refers to these works she creates as time-based drawings) (Please note that this is all my interpretation, as I hadn't discussed the piece at length with Karen.) A camera positioned in a parked car across the street on Saturday was automatically taking pictures of Karen installing the sheets of paper, and eventually, the wind taking them down, at which point a similarly scaled line drawn depiction of the original photograph went up in its place. The time elapsed video of this process will soon be available for viewing at Go North.
I found this to be a particularly poetic piece, and I'm fortunate to have seen as much of is as I had on Saturday morning, as the piece was conceived to be fleeting. I was struck by the rhythmic waves moving through the mosaic of papers as the wind caught it, animating a frozen moment, depicted in photograph.
To stand in front of this piece in this window, was to stand in front of some trans-dimensional mirror, you see all the reflections you'd expect to see, except your own, which obviously would not be visible as you've been rendered a vampire. You do, however, see Matthew's ghostly voyeur aiming to snap your non-reflecting image for some nefarious purpose, like posting in a blog.
OK, I'm going too far, but this piece definitely spoke of the intermingling of past and present, the extension of a moment held indefinitely, then carried forth. The work also demonstrates the fullest extension of responding to place. Here, Karen frames her response through the eyes of another (Matthew), and through the experience of the place itself. It's a "If these walls could talk" sort of thing. Karen's is an oblique reference to history, and the brief retelling of a fading memory by an old girl on Main St.
Unfortunately, the life span of the piece was curtailed due to objection by the property's owner. I'm not certain on what grounds he objected, but we certainly comply with the wishes of our hosts on matters such as this, and the piece was removed late in the evening of Aug 9. In any case, the piece was not destined to sit statically in the window through the run of the exhibit, this just expedited the dismantling and prevented viewers from experiencing the full arc of the piece, and that's a real loss.
As I said, a video depicting the rise and fall is expected to be at Go North Gallery for viewing, hopefully soon.
Much of Karen's work incorporates similar, and more ambitiously scaled architectural renderings place on the actual structures depicted. Here's a recent project described at usagnet.com and an interview with Karen on the Popcorn Youth blog