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COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER

by Charlie Finch
 
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Every morning at dawn Linda Norberg puts on full make-up, earrings and an array of accessories before she goes to work. Linda works alone in the Arctic descending into a coal mine to find the best veins for drilling.

As Linda remarked, while touring New York during Fashion Week with artist Janet Biggs, "I need to preserve my identity in the mirror before I go to work." Linda -- blonde, petite and alluring --would fit right in on the runway, and, currently, she is a bigger star than many supermodels. Norberg is the focal point of Brightness All Around, Part Three of Janet Biggs’ "The Arctic Trilogy," just opened, in its entirety, at Chelsea’s Winkleman Gallery, after debuting at Conner Contemporary in Washington, D.C. last spring. The price is a very reasonable $12,500.

Janet Biggs met Linda Norberg on Janet’s second expedition to the Arctic last fall and immediately shot hours and hours of film of Norberg descending into the mines under conditions of extreme frigidness, solitude, darkness, depth and ice.

The intensity penetrates you at Winkleman’s space, boiled down into a performance duet, as is Biggs’ recent practice, with hit-singer Bill Coleman in a nine-minute video. Liberation through danger is the theme, even in the service, as Ed Winkleman reminded me, of de-spoilization of the environment to produce energy to make the flat screens that project the videos in Winkland.

Biggs’ particularized genius in Part Three is to play Norberg’s femi-sensual machismo off of Coleman’s macho gayness, in which he rolls his eyes and body to pinwheel proportions. Janet Biggs herself stars in the trilogy, shooting a flare across the tundra with purpose and determination. You will be mesmerized by "The Arctic Trilogy": fire and ice. It is, so far, the exhibition of the year.

Janet Biggs, “The Arctic Trilogy,” Feb. 11-Mar. 12, 2011, at Winkleman Gallery, 621 West 27th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001


CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).


 



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