Jeannine Harkleroad incorporates stories and objects—from Greek mythology to hand-crafted props—into the medium of video, which she uses as a narrative extension of her sculptural work. For her DCCA exhibition Gust, Harkleroad specifically focuses on ideas of human relationships and the significance of ordinary objects. In The Felt Field (2008), the artist mowed a 300 x 600 foot loveseat into open land, suggesting that a piece of furniture or even a public field can be experienced as private, emotional space. The Loveseat (2009) is a video reenactment of The Felt Field, featuring a miniature wooden tractor prop that Harkleroad and another performer push and pull along a small stage made of green lentils. Regarding the role of object and performer in her work, the artist states, “The objects are both facilitator and obstacle. The objects upstage the performers, ultimately diluting the performers and fortifying the sculpture. The performers are the mechanism. They are the psychological stage curtains these thoughts and events take place between.” In Wind Gods, Harkleroad references the Greek deities of Boreas and Zephyrus who bring the winter and spring, respectively. Each God in Harkleroad’s video appears as a masked performer who blows both a male and female prop figure into one another. A parable of relationship collision and fusion, Harkleroad visualizes these and other ideas as playful, staged vignettes evocative of fine art and folk traditions. Both analytical and physical in her approach to art-making, Harkleroad’s whimsical aesthetic shifts directions capriciously, not unlike the way the wind blows.
Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art