Gretchen Bennett reimagines iconic images of Kurt Cobain in shadings of colored pencil for this drawing series entitled "Hello" (a nod to the chorus of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"). She took video footage from YouTube (including a memorial created by Krist Novoselic for MTV) and Gus Van Sant's Last Days, made slides of the images, then projected the slides onto her studio wall, where she traced out a series of light-saturated drawings. The piece that most appeals to me is not of Cobain at all, but of a kitten that might (or might not have) belonged to him. The kitten looks out, slit-eyed, as it moves toward us across a patterned rug. Somehow, the vertical shadings of colored pencil seem to work most effectively in this piece, nearing abstraction and creating a sort of visual noise in pinks and yellows, opening up to an overexposed whiteness in the kitten's face. Nostalgia is difficult to avoid with this subject matter, but I very much like the fact that Bennett explores this Northwest icon (like the many mountains of her past works) using a method that interprets our very public history by way of a quiet, luminous reading.
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