by Meredith Power
18 September 2017
Molly Garrett’s work, “I’ll Come To You/You Come to Me,” is currently exhibited at La Esquina Gallery in Kansas City Missouri. It is a 2-channel video installation with extension cords, toner image transfer and pencil animation on a 58 second loop. My first reaction to this piece was that the screen on the right must not be working. Upon inspection on the extension cords, I realised that – yes, everything is working, and yes it’s supposed to be presented as one moving screen on the left and one still screen on the right. The two screens with the same connections, and the figure on the left screen exiting to the right both suggest that the right screen should have the figure entering it, or have some sort of movement. However, I did move with the figure. The piece is big enough that, if you’re standing closely, you have to walk back and forth in order to see both screens. I felt as if I was part of the piece, fulfilling what I saw as the missing movement and second figure.
This piece left me feeling anticipation for something that was never going to happen, and disappointed that the right screen remained empty, yet hopeful that maybe the next loop would be different. The figure that never reaches the right screen, but leaves and returns to the left as if it is arriving at the right screen, but we just can’t see it. At this point, we might become the figure in the piece, arriving at the second screen from the screen on the left, and traveled the path we thought it would take.
Garrett’s work investigates the queer and trans body and self through her hand drawn and then scanned animations. The repetition and time that the rotoscope animation takes gives them a certain intimacy with the subject, and allows for a drawn out investigation of the figure through drawing. I saw the work before I read the artist essay, and at first, I was wondering who the figure on the left screen was. Was it a man or a woman or a teenager? I settled on an androgynous person in their late teens or early 20s. I thought that androgyny might help the work relate to a larger audience, and remove and gender bias the viewer brings with them from the work. After reading about Garrett’s work, the androgyny made sense in the work, but in a different way. I think that this work was successful with or without the artist essay, and that finding out her reason for making the figure neither male or female did not add or take away from the piece, but just changed my perspective.
The name of this work, “I’ll Come To You/You Come to Me,” was another factor in my expectation that the figure at least appear on the second screen. It suggests two figures, ‘you,’ and ‘me.’ Again, I believe that this work was meant to incorporate the viewer as the second figure. Because of the space between the screens, and the placement, on the floor, the figure seems to get up from the floor and travel with you from one screen until you are at the next without it. The ‘you,’ and ‘me’ in the title could either easily be the viewer, with the other person being the figure that brings you into the piece.