She is really quick on the draw

      (PNAN-NC) – Speed, precision, and danger are key elements of the exhibition “VantagePoint IX – Janet Biggs: Going to Extremes” that is on view Friday, November 5 through May 29, 2011 at the Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte. From a kayaker navigating threatening Arctic waters, to a NASCAR pit crew racing against the clock, Biggs’ video subjects tend to lead her to extremes, whereas for nearly 20 years, the bond she has formed between her subjects is their willingness to undertake extraordinary risks, even brushes with death in pursuit of the sublime.

     The exhibition will be presented in four single channel videos: “Duet” (2010), “Fade to White” (2010), “Vanishing Point” (2009), and “Airs Above the Ground” (2007).  Artist Biggs will be on site to give a lecture on her work on Thursday, November 4 at 7:00 pm, which is free and the public is encourage to attend.

      Biggs’ latest work, “Duet” is her most recent work and a new territory, where she focuses on the world of NASCAR. Biggs partnered with Joe Gibbs Racing to shoot footage showing how auto racing’s wild popularity and position within consumer culture create both drama and heroism. Her focus is not the driver; moreover, she captures the speed, precision and agility of the pit crews and reveals their extreme grace under pressure. Biggs also integrates sound and video footage of a violinist and vocalist performing, “The Flower Duet” from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes.

     Another installation, “Fade to White” follows the journey of Audun Tholfsen, who is a guide and crew member on the Nooderlicht, a schooner that took Biggs to the Arctic in 2009. The video reveals the myth of the solitary male explorer by focusing on Tholfsen’s trials as he navigates the ship, and sometimes a kayak, through threatening, iceberg-filled seas. Biggs integrates the striking Arctic imagery with sound and video footage of countertenor John Kelly, whose age, androgyny and mournful voice parallels the vanishing Arctic landscape and signals the waning of male dominance.

     “Vanishing Point” looks at the ways in which an individual can vanish. Combining images of motorcycle speed record holder Leslie Porterfield on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats with footage of Harlem’s Addicts Rehabilitation Center Gospel Choir performing a song written specifically for the video, it evaluates the struggle to maintain one’s identity, the role of those who witness that identity vanishing, and a search for freedom that can end in either destruction or transcendence.

     Equating age with pageantry and masquerade, “Airs Above the Ground” is an ethereal image of an inverted, weightless synchronized swimmer suspended in slow motion reveals the strenuous effort and dedication behind the appearance of youthful ease. Biggs suggests that youth is bound by social constraints that set some individuals on a search for impossible perfection or transcendence.

     For more information on these installations, see or or call 704.337.2000.

Published by on October 2010. Filed under AAMG Cover Section, Archives, Art-to-Art Marketplace Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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