EXERPT OF AN ESSAY BY MARK HARRIS 2006 / by DAWN LOWNDES

"And finally, to Dawn Whetzel’s allegorical video work. A carnivalesque quality marks the accessories to her practice with a “Screw yourself” instruction and five-foot polychromed flowers around the walls. Whetzel’s discomfiting video opens on a doll-faced person coyly posing before a log cabin in the woods. As this character navigates the building and survives confrontation by a threatening man, she is transformed from doll-child to woman and drives away in a luxury car. The exaggerated theatricality of the costumes, the choreography, and props, generate a disturbing relation to the bucolic location. American horror movies have accustomed us to this kind of setting as the perfect spot for gratuitous homicide by masked maniacs. Whetzel neatly plays with this anxiety, finally converting it into relief as our heroine metamorphoses into a more empowered commodity than the one she initially embodies. I won’t get to see this video as part of the cinematic installation for which it’s intended. Such an environment will, I imagine, allow the video’s theatricality to be at its most effective."