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A. Moret - Writer and Art Critic

"Plywood Curtains"- For Your Art (September 2010)

Los Angeles is an urban center coiled in a web of illusion.  The quotidian often seems surreal while the reality of an ailing economy and the barrage of “for sale” signs plastered over the doors of longtime businesses feels more like an apocalyptic film than real life.  Founder of West of Rome Public Art Emi Fontana realized that an opportunity existed in the unpredictable cityscape and curates “Women in the City,” an ongoing public art initiative featuring artists Jennifer Bolande, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Krueger, Louise Lawler, and Cindy Sherman.  Fontana expresses that West of Rome is interested in “imagining other uses for spaces and other ways of looking at and inhabiting our world.  It is amazing how an artwork can activate a different awareness of a space, of a neighborhood or an urban environment, really creating a moment of interaction within the day-to-day life.”  Jennifer Bolande’s current project Plywood Curtains illicits an awareness of public spaces otherwise forgotten.  Through an intricate process of photographing plywood, printing the images to actual size, and creating curtains in the windows of empty retail spaces, Bolande activates that which was once abandoned into a source of surprise and inquiry.  Having worked with curtains before, Bolande describes, “curtains are thresholds into other realms, theatrical, public or private.  They can signify both the end and the beginning of something.”  Made to mimic inexpensive plywood, a material which signals absence or vandalism, Bolande’s curtains cause passer-bys and motorists to take pause and more actively consider their urban environ.  Currently on display in three locations throughout Los Angeles Plywood Curtains is an invitation to celebrate the illusory spirit of our city, while looking forward to days when plywood can be removed from shops doors as easily lifting a curtain.