This Means War Is Personal: Jason Hanasik and David Gregory Wallace
Krowswork is pleased to present This Means War Is Personal, with video and photography by Jason Hanasik and video and installation by David Gregory Wallace. Both artists have devoted much of their recent practice to isolating and prying open the signifiers of the all-pervading but rarely discussed ongoing U.S-led wars. Their approaches are different: Hanasik regards and illuminates the lives of soldiers and soldiers-in-training who are also his friends, while Wallace tries to bring an intimacy to the remote-controlled drone planes being piloted from the a military base in the Nevada desert 7,000 miles from their targets. Together, both artists’ recent work presents specific and compelling evidence that points undeniably to the oxymoronic fact that despite society’s efforts to codify and mechanize war, forced abstraction gives way very quickly to the real, which is incriminatingly personal. Far from acceding to any knee-jerk political judgment, however, each artist is poetically sensitive to his special assignment as conduit between the people, places, and objects that make up the daily tableau of war and us.
Jason Hanasik presents two videos that in two deft strokes serve to show the range of military male experience, while simultaneously showing the holes in our assumptions about this experience. Sharrod (Turn/Twirl) features Sharrod, a young man from his hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia, whom Jason has photographed and videoed for many years as he goes through Navy Junior ROTC training. In this video Sharrod, dressed in his Navy uniform, recreates a long salute while slowly turning in that position -- a sustained, joyless dance that is at odds with the visage of a boy so young and seemingly innocent. This video is complimented by In the Green Zone: November 2007, a work that employs raw footage supplied by a friend serving in the Marines in Iraq, in which two fellow camouflaged soldiers dance and dip in a playful, loving way on the balcony of their protected barracks. With both these videos, Hanasik picks apart our preconceptions of the borderline between soldier/civilian, feminine/masculine, and personal/political: not only are these classifications often ambiguous, they can be dangerously wrong. Hanasik will also display relevant photographs from these series that further flesh out the beauty and honesty of this artist's approach to a difficult subject.
David Gregory Wallace presents three installations: Dinner Table, "Dear Friends," and Chair. Each of these pieces explores the always close proximity between domestic and military life. Wallace, like Hanasik, uses found footage from the Iraq war. In Wallace's case, it is unclassified military drone airplane footage released by the Department of Defense which, like any military document, has been redacted with black bands to keep some of the information from view. Wallace views this censorship partially as an attempt at maintaining a mystique of power by the military, and in Dinner Table, he attempts to invert this power back by poetically using these perversely innocent black bands as windows to see through. Likewise in "Dear Friends." Wallace composes a video letter partly from the perspective of a drone, using footage from Wallace's extensive stays at Indian Springs, Nevada, as well as footage from redacted military videos. Chair presents an interrogation inverted, in which the focus is not upon the person trapped in the chair but rather the possibility of another truth just behind it. For Wallace the literal and metaphorical implications of these ongoing wars is of critical importance, and by involving himself personally in these implications through these works he registers a subtle but powerful protest against our hypocritical uninvolvement.