by Jenny Montgomery
Refu is delighted to host a complex installation of poetry and objects
by Jenny Seymore Montgomery, opening (with a boffo artist talk) on Friday, May 6, 2015
at 6 p.m.
There will be refreshments to support your enjoyment of Jenny's cabinet
of wonders - a physically expressed story of difficulty and triumph.
Serious, not cheesy!
About the Work
is an experiment in literary installation. It began as a chapbook of
poems exploring a devastating birth experience and the eventual joys of
parenting an uncommon (and exceptionally funny) child. Images from the
poems are “built out” in the gallery space, made from materials which
reach back to touch prehistoric ritual traditions surrounding death and
the afterlife (red ochre, stone mounds, shroud wrappings, etc.), objects
from a romantic, idealized nursery, religious items, and medical
flotsam and pharmaceuticals. Large scale poems and fragments surround
the viewer, telling the story of a child’s near death experience,
physical disability, and exuberant embrace of life and language.
show is a ritual attempt to re-document our experience in ways that
reach beyond the medical and the finite toward a narrative of spirit and
metamorphosis,” says Jenny Montgomery, who enjoyed collaborating with
her seven-year old son on some of the pieces.
of the work grapple with our culture’s death-denying, instrumentalist,
and scientific worldview and point toward the pre-modern
transcendent—toward wisdom traditions and secret “hatches” leading to
other realms. Many pieces invite the viewer into the symbol-rich world
of childhood, where archetypal forces are encountered in the primal
theater of play. “As children work to find their place in a mysterious
world, themes of struggle, mortality, safety, rescue, absurdity, magic,
and the limits of our agency appear again and again,” says Montgomery.
“Like play, art is a form of ritual—a highly charged field of action in
which our relationship to forces beyond our control can shift and
About the Artist
Jenny (Seymore) Montgomery’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Unsplendid, Switched-on Gutenberg, the New York Times, Gathering of the Tribes, Sensitive Skin, and the Cairo Times.
She was educated at the Evergreen State College (where artist Marilyn
Frasca was a strong formative influence) and Columbia University. She
lives Missoula, Montana where she owns a distillery with her husband,
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