ARTnews, February 2003
Review by John Brunetti


FLATFILE Photography Gallery

Joan Truckenbrod's earlier vocabulary was characterized by the etheral, painterly layering of computer-manipulated projections into room-size environments. Her new installation, Spirit Site (2002), dramatically immersed the viewer in investigations of water as a metaphor for human vulnerability.

In the gallery's darkened project space, a pristine white model ( a replica of a dollhouse the artis's father built for her as a child) sat on a platform suspended from the ceiling. The house functioned as a screen for video footage of fractured, glistening bodies of salmon swimming upstream in Alaska. The hard edges of the empty structure's walls appeared to dissolve through the hypnotic rhythms of the water and the fish, creating poetic juxtapositions of stillness and movement, birth and death. Enveloped by the alternating sounds of rippling water and roaring rapids, the viewer was aurally and psychologically submerged.

The house's windows allowed fragments of video footage to slip through and onto adjacent gallery walls, forming layers on photographs of the artist's aging parents and making the distance between the beginning and the end of life seem uncomfortably short.