RVW | Mixed Feelings
Codifying and collecting a year’s worth of feelings
By Jessie Spiess, MFA VS ’14
Emily Ginsberg is a Portland based multi-disciplinary artist whose show entitled MIXED FEELINGS is on display at NINE Gallery, an artist-run cooperative space located inside Blue Sky Gallery on NW 8th Avenue. Ginsberg’s work explores human relationships and interactions with particular attention to the written and spoken word. Her work often functions as a map or code for understanding an aspect of an individual or collective consciousness. In MIXED FEELINGS, Ginsberg’s codifies and collects a year’s worth of emotion for viewers.
Upon entering the NINE Gallery, I was faced with an animation reminiscent of an optical wormhole—rings of color pulse and move outward slowly and unendingly. This piece, titled IF YOU FELT THE SAME: A YEAR OF MOMETARY TRACES, is a catalogue of Ginsberg’s moods over the 2012 calendar year. Drawing on the kitschy-pop mood ring, a corresponding color is linked to a set of moods predetermined by the artist. The result is a mesmerizing self-portrait log of Ginsberg’s history that is both visually captivating and relatable.
Closely connected to this work is IF YOU FELT THE SAME, a series of business card-sized prints that are both a take-away for gallery viewers, and a key to better understanding the animation across the room. On each petite print is a colored oval corresponding to a particular feeling—excited, unsettled, calm, imaginative. On the reverse side, the words “If you felt the same” are embossed but not filled with color. These prints invite viewers to use Ginsberg’s code in their own self-reflection and record. The idea of logging one’s own emotions as an aspect of personal history or for analysis is tantalizing.
While immersed in the animation, I became aware of a sound piece elsewhere in the small square gallery. This work, entitled DRAWING WITH SOUND #1: MIXED FEELINGS, is an abstract noise/sound piece that is directly in conversation with four approximately 13-foot glass panels on the opposing wall. Song lyrics are etched into their surface of each panel. These song lyrics, effectively poems, run from bottom to top and are mirrored at the center so that the combined lines of text create an image of sound waves traveling down a four tracked recorder.
As an in-depth investigation of human emotion, personal record, and visual and audio scores, MIXED FEELINGS was simultaneously relatable and thought provoking. Ginsberg’s explorations of these concepts through carefully selected processes and materials make this exhibition a smart, thought-provoking body of work that should not be missed.