A young woman in a heavy coat trudges through snow-covered fields. It’s unclear how much fun this is for her, but on a hot Chicago summer day, Seattle-based artist Tania Kupczak’s encounter with the deep snows of Vermont—the subject of her video 3 losses (2008)—is a refreshing reminder we won’t always feel as though we’re moving through a soup of grime and humidity.
In the video, the artist’s ambiguous voiceovers allude to romantic troubles without specifying what has happened or who was involved. The second of its three sections, which begins with a tearful Kupczak lying in the snow and ends with her calmly continuing her journey, clearly suggests a connection between her stormy external and internal conditions. But this isn’t a cheesy chick flick: Kupczak cleverly incorporates the weather into the monologues she delivers to unseen listeners, explaining that one relationship featured “a flurry of touches, but no accumulation.”
In her mixed-media installation snow_leylines (2003), Kupczak plays a recording of herself walking the same path through the snow at different times. As we hear every crunch and crackle of her steps when the temperature is low and then watery, sliding sounds as it rises into the 40s, the artist’s catalog of her everyday movements—she recites the temperature and other details (“full moon”)—leaves us in a meditative state. Kupczak’s meteorology-inspired abstract “system maps” (pale networks of symbols such as clouds and raindrops) are less compelling than her video and audio work, in which she reveals the beauty of our mundane struggles with winter.