Critics’ Picks

View of “Jennifer Bolande Landmarks,” 2012. From left: Side Show, 1991, cibachrome, frame, 55 x 32“;  Aerial Phonograph, 1991/2010, cibachrome on record album, formica base, turntable with motor, 28 x 16 x 16”.

View of “Jennifer Bolande Landmarks,” 2012. From left: Side Show, 1991, cibachrome, frame, 55 x 32“; Aerial Phonograph, 1991/2010, cibachrome on record album, formica base, turntable with motor, 28 x 16 x 16”.

Philadelphia

Jennifer Bolande

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
January 11–March 11, 2012

Working between photography and sculpture, Jennifer Bolande collapses objects into images and creates photographs that resist the medium’s flatness. Bolande, now based in Los Angeles, came of age in New York during the late 1970s. With an emphasis on the artist’s relatively lo-fi aesthetic and funky material choices, “Landmarks” celebrates Bolande’s absurd humor, an aspect that can often be overshadowed in the historicization of her Pictures generation peers.

Some of her best riffs appropriate the work of her fellow artists. Aerial Phonograph, 1991/2010, an homage to Jack Goldstein’s records, shows an image of skydivers, shot from above, slowly spinning on a silent vinyl record. Smoke Screen #1, 2007, resembles a print of one of Sherrie Levine’s knot paintings, with halftone images of smoke replacing the knots.

Bolande’s found-object sculptures that hug the walls in bas-relief––incorporating photographic details of her compositions among assemblages of materials such as Marshall amps and vintage refrigerator doors––become an exercise in looking. This play between image and object extends to upending the hierarchy between content and form in Cascade, 1987, where a clichéd image of a cliff at sunset is pinned vertically to the wall from which it “cascades” into a crumpled mess on the floor. Rounding of Corners, 1991/2010, a standout work, exemplifies this punny logic on the photographic plane. Utilizing the compositional logic of the nesting doll, a picture of a woman’s headless torso framed by shoulder pads is photographed within a cardboard frame physically buttressed by shoulder pads; the resulting photograph is then shown in the same frame, a metaphor for levels of institutional framing and scrutiny of the feminine image.