JoLee KirkikisUntilted (2014)

Browsing Ms. Kirkikis’ work, I associate it instinctively with Erin Jane Nelson’s early work.

Both capture themselves/friends in wistful moments, awkward spaces between presence and absence. Both tend to use image making as a means of documenting performances related to text or sculptural elements. Both have images featuring finger traps.

It feels to me as if both build out off a similar foundation: a sort of belief that the world is too big to feel small. In Nelson’s case, she led with her angst–as if her creative process were an interrogation room scene, with her playing the good cop, the bad cop and the suspect.

Whereas, Kirkikis is more circumspect; evincing a confidence perhaps not yet in her work but certainly in the searching nature of her nascent process.

It’s interesting to me that it appears Nelson has disavowed her early work. That’s a mixed blessing. Yes, most of her work was disturbingly uneven and much of what worked seemed a fortuitous accident. Still, she made a handful of images which indelibly seared themselves onto my mind’s eye. (I find it interesting the degree to which the work she is making now is aggressively confrontational.)

And while Kirkikis’ work would benefit from culling her extensive output to something learner, more focused… unlike Nelson, I think we’ll probably still see the above image recur as she matures along with her work.