The work in Shoot the Breeze is a riff on the platitudes and visual language of common idioms, sayings and proverbs.
Marcelja sees idioms and common phrases, as reflections of our individual memories and collective culture. These sayings are seemingly mindless, but they often conjure images and associations in the mind that are specific to our history and society. Shooting the breeze may be absurd as an act, but those words also evoke a range of circumstances and emotions: laziness, violence, and other libertine qualities that inform the world in which we live. That is the idiom’s potency: it exceeds the definitions of language and on top of that, captures the visual and emotional imagination, too.
In her work, Marcelja doesn’t directly represent the visual language of idioms, and instead she questions their underlying contexts and histories. Rather than any simple physical representation, the pieces in Shoot the Breeze feel layered, fraught, and absurd. Marcelja’s work questions the sublimated messages we often repeat without any examination.
If an eye is for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, what happens in that exchange or transaction? What about an eye for a tooth? It may be water under the bridge, but can we forget our memories, our betrayals, our traumas? Shoot the Breeze asks viewers to ponder what we tell ourselves and others, and how it shapes our personal and shared beliefs and outlooks.
Let’s Talk Art With Brooke
Episode 147: Today I talk to Brooklyn based artist Katerina Marcelja, about her Shoot the Breeze exhibit at Happy Lucky No.1 Gallery. Every culture has it’s idioms and sayings, “kill two birds with one stone,” “an eye for an eye.” She examines the history behind what we say and questions why we say it. It goes until March 1, 2020.