Francine: Dustin Hodges at 15 Orient
Francine asks the viewer to hypothesize an artwork which is not present. On view in the gallery: 7 Sixty-inch square paintings represent individual frames of an animated film taken out of their sequential context. 3 smaller paintings depict sections of film strip animating an ambiguous form diving downward and toward the viewer. Three distinct registers of reality overlay and interact:
Schematically inhabiting the upper half of the compositions are forms taken from a painting of moths by Odilon Redon, here setting the deep space of our stage set. Mound of earth at right, mass of flowers and dark foliage centre, outwash plain marshy bog left. An arrangement of shells, peculiarly shaped stones, seed pod forms separate the forest from the bog. A bulbous moth and anal flower preside. Slightly foregrounded, an ambiguous form—possibly a pile of rocks—is animated diving.
A host of characters from the animated cartoon “Arthur” populate the bottom of the frames. Three stills from a single episode lend a semblance of linear time to our hypothetical film. Francine looks away from us to the right, then away from us to the left, finally facing forward. Does she acknowledge the rock pile?
In one painting, a third register of glowing red mustelids introduces “real animals” derived from photos to oppose the ones wearing suits and the one diving forward like a pile of stones morphing into a mass of internal organs. They represent Francine’s personality exploded into its various drives, loves, hates. She turns red and has a special relationship with the Diver: telepathic identification, reincarnate twin, spirit familiar, slave, master, demonic possession, lover…? Moving downward and toward the viewer, the Diver maps its transit from the over-story into the understory, marking loop time. Its destination is indeterminate: does it leap out of the rock pile to inhabit Francine or merely pass over or through her into the sub-story?