Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dustin Fosnot @ Steven Wolf Gallery

Cyanide was Dustin Fosnot’s debut solo exhibit and although a few pieces were on display, the piece Cyanide caught my attention and kept it so that I can hardly remember the others. On the floor were three blue mattresses, each with the outline of the artist’s body created by a cyanotype process. Initially I associated the blue of the mattresses, which was uneven and dotted like a starry sky, and the outlines of a person lying on them with the excitement and awe of childhood nights spent outside staring up at the sky, but after learning about Fosnot’s personal history and the process with which he made the piece, I had an altogether different impression. Fosnot spent several years homeless in the Bay Area and the first mattress was found on the streets where he had slept (all the mattresses were old and used). Creating a cyanotype with these mattresses meant lying on a cyanide coating and, knowing this, the outlines and materials shifted to associations with the outlines of dead bodies in crime scenes and the precariousness of life in the streets. I was then able to switch back and forth between these two impressions leaving me with feelings of both wonder and fear.

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