Impressions of Jill and her Merging Worlds

by Kate Nemeth

Spur Tree Lounge76
Orchard Street
6-11 on October 21st

A note before reading: I usually interview Salon Ciel artists the same way; with a voice recorder and a list of questions. This piece on Jill Gewirtz also began the same as any other.  The whole thing was bound for tidy transcription and easy reproduction across the web from my device to yours. But this one will end differently because sometimes your devices fail you- or in my case you fail yourself with your devices- and you wind up with a pad full of notes and impressions. In this particular case, however, I find the mishap to be fitting.

How many times have you walked past a mannequin staring out endlessly on to the streets of New York? Has your face ever flitted across the store window only to line up flush against the head of that statue?  Maybe it felt like that “Twilight Zone” episode- The one where a girl gets caught in a department store and finds herself fighting for her sanity as the inanimate objects around her take on new life. Jill Gewirtz has imagined that feeling. Her work “Merging Worlds”, which will be presented by Salon Ciel at Spur Tree Lounge on October 21st, looks at the surreal overlap of the imaginary and the real and how it happens every day on New York streets.

Ms. Gewirtz grew up surrounded by photography. Her father owned Color Lab for years and developed prints for pioneers like Richard Avedon and the commercial photographer Hiro. From a young age, having access to the vibrant art community of New York City in the late 70s and 80s had a tremendous effect on her. Though Ms. Gewirtz took a break from art to pursue a degree in Psychology, her creative sensibilities were already formed. She began experimenting with InkJet transfers and Polaroid transfers while working day-shifts as a psychologist. To this day she maintains the two separate lives- as many New York-based artists do. Her work has been shown in Portland at Light Box Gallery, in Texas at TCC Gallery and in Greenpoint.

Her latest project on view with Salon Ciel is a continuation of “Reflections”, a project Ms. Gewirtz began at the International Center of Photography. As for what the artist has to say about her work: “I like to focus on the geometry of the interaction- the point at which you know things are working and there is a melding of two worlds.” At once a scene in a storefront looks manicured and finished. It stands apart from reality. But the window pane provides the level of transparency needed for a bizarre interaction between inside and outside, and between subject and viewer. Salon Ciel invites you to join us and Ms. Gewirtz later this month for the opening of “Merging Worlds” where you can see for yourself the life in the inanimate.

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