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Outside The Zone - Meet the artist: Saturday 17th November

Satellite Gallery is pleased to invite you to:

Debbie Stenzel – Outside The Zone

Meet the artist: Saturday 17th November 10.30 - 12.00 noon

Exercising Empathy: Outside the Zone by Debbie Stenzel
Christine Nieuwoudt

Looking at Debbie Stenzel’s work is painful. The tiny, multiple and perfectly executed hand stitched lines on her embroideries and table runner evoke an incredulous sympathy pain; the sheer scale of the effort and meticulousness involved in their production make not only the brain, but the eyes ache. The objects and video she exhibits alongside them in her show Outside the Zone at Satellite Gallery evoke a similar disbelief. The show pertains to the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes and the unquantifiable loss and trauma which the destruction caused. The glass objects she exhibits, a combination of intact items which were literally spat out of the ground, almost completely undamaged, and a shard of remembrance of a family who she visits, documented in a short film.

The show exhibits Stenzel’s practice of trying to physically process the suffering of others on a personal level by extended, repeated and painstaking labour. In today’s world there is scarcely a day that goes by where we as a population are not shown images of mass destruction, death or pain through the media or some form of technology. Not only does it sell newspapers and magazines, it also funds much of the movie and gaming industries. Because we are constantly bombarded by these images through technology, such as computer or TV screens they become just that; mere images. We come to feel no connection to the event they represent and this has the effect of removing much of our natural human reaction to the suffering within them.

Debbie Stenzel’s practice and processes endeavour to counteract this phenomenon. She exerts a constant and conscientious empathy based art practice where through the creation of objects she draws awareness to the experience of others. By hand stitching the data of the Christchurch quakes and aftershocks and personally connecting with people affected by them, she confronts us with the intimate and emotional side of the casualties and destruction. Our attention is placed back on the fact that the experience of these individuals cannot be consigned to the realm of mere numbers or recorded information. Through this she works against the depersonalisation and apathy that so often come after the initial shock of disaster and strives to reignite interconnectedness between people through artwork.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Debbies exhibition runs until the 24th November 2012


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