Video Work | Photo/Installations | Documentary Projects

Tufts University Gallery April 30-May17, 1998
Face Value-reflections on identity

by David Bliss

"Denise Marika's videos/sculptures have dealt with the sensitive subject of the body on many levels. Marika possesses an ability to use the body, often her own, to evoke in the viewer a sense of identification with the subject through the deeply personal experience of empathy and memory. Face Me (Blue), Marika's video piece included in this exhibition, is no exception. We see a head projected on the rough, blue surface of a sanding belt. A hand roughly, almost violently, reaches in and turns the head from side to side, forcing it to face us. As it does, we realize that the face changes from that of a child to that of a grown woman, all the time with a petulant, angry, and almost defiant look to it. In a 1994 Boston Globe review of Marika's work, Christine Temin wrote that the gesture is related to Marika's childhood memory of having her face yanked back and forth by adults as they said "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" As we look at the violent gesture repeated over and over again, we are simultaneously the empathic viewer of the subject and also, in our memory, we are the subject."