Jody Zellen: People, Places and Isolating Spaces
Council St., Los Angeles
Through February 26, 2022
Written by Eve Wood
It goes without saying that these past two years have been painfully difficult on so many levels, yet strangely and inevitably humanistic as we have all been put to the task of examining our relationships to ourselves, to those around us and to the living world. Jody Zellen’s exhibition at Council St. speaks directly to issues of confinement and isolation, yet within this pervasive sequestration the artist suggests that the creative impulse might provide a much needed solace while also shaping a new and necessary reality.
The show contains three distinct groupings of drawings including collages made from Artforum magazine clippings, collages and archival marker on paper and a video entitled The Waking Dream with sound by Jonathan Zalben. In each of these projects we find the black silhouette of either a single figure or a group of people, disconnected and alone. In many of the collages the black figures appear at odds with the surrounding environment as in Untitled (6-25-21) where the person is trapped between two triangles, the points of which might at any moment impale the poor soul balanced there between them. This work, as with others in the show, perfectly embodies the tension between the precariousness of being alive and the desire to be free (from stress, from responsibilities, from Covid 19, or simply from the overarching malaise of the modern human condition).
Lastly, Zellen investigates our reliance on activities and public spaces as a means of avoiding our apparent disconnections from each other. We long to connect, yet we are constantly and gloriously distracted. For example, in Untitled (4-15-14), we see two people walking towards each other, yet the distance between them seems insurmountable and no matter how many steps they take to reach one another, they will, sadly, never, ever arrive.