The drawings, photographs, collages and sculptures in Jen Schwarting's exhibition, Today Is Not Your Day, are constructed around some very important and pressing issues. Issues that NPR listeners especially are thinking about every day. That is, what is it exactly that characterizes America's notion of progress and where do we stand today?
Schwarting looks to the office work place for answers but unfortunately seems to compound apparent clichés rather than crack the case. Perhaps the problem is that she is looking at the ‘office' as an exotic location, a place where surely, amidst all of that grey partitioning and what not, there is something truly sinister at work. This attitude is manifested in a freestanding cardboard cutout of a woman who is wearing standard issue office clothes. She is doing a headstand and her shirt is coming up over her head so that you can see her bra, but not her face. The image is indeed sinister and troubling but not because it is revealing anything about office culture, but because it is unclear who the photographer is and why the photograph was taken.
The use of materials in the show, cardboard, photocopies, tape, patchwork sewing and collage, are materials that can be readily and rightfully found in art school classrooms where the urgency of making something and generating a conversation with a room full of people dedicated to the cause, seem out of place. For one, the appropriated images of office workers don't look like the office workers of today but rather of an era gone by. In this case the materials just seem flimsy and uncommitted. It is too bad because it does seem that Today Is Not Your Day is reaching for more it just isn't clear what exactly.
- Nancy Lupo
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