As you enter Jenny Fine’s new installation at the Wiregrass Museum of Art, you are basically slipping into a pool of her imagination.
Larger-than-life legs dangle from above. Pool stairs tease an escape. Arms of a diver stretch into an underwater world of plastic sheeting and blue lighting.
“A lot of my work has been about my identity and who I am — trying to figure out what that is, who I am and how I fit in the world,” Fine said. “As I’ve gotten older, it occurs to me that life isn’t just about me.”
Fine, who lives in Enterprise, said she wanted to expand her personal exploration into a larger look at the region she calls home. Her latest work, titled “Synchronized Swimmers,” explores the area’s identity and history through water, its aquatic life and Fine’s imagination.
The installation opens during the museum’s Art After Hours on Jan. 16 from 5:30-8 p.m.
The artist’s imagination jumps from backyard pool play to Odysseus passing by the song of mythical sea sirens to the swimming test used to determine if a woman was a witch to the Weeki Wachee mermaid shows in Florida.
Fine created her underwater illusion with found materials and used guide books to re-create backdrops.
So, as you float through “Synchronized Swimmers,” you start in the backyard pool of Fine’s grandmother Sarah Fine, where as a child Jenny Fine and her sister would play make-believe that the pool was as deep as the ocean. Beyond the pool, visitors will walk among aging sea sirens and anthropomorphic aquatic life.
Like Fine’s previous installation, “Flat Granny and Me,” her latest exhibit mixes photography, visuals, video, sound and even performance art as volunteer actors bring her underwater world to life.
“When you get other people involved and ask them to embody the characters, the narrative becomes larger than yourself,” Fine said.
“Synchronized Swimmers” encompasses the Wiregrass Museum of Art’s entire main gallery and will remain at the museum until Feb. 22. Additional performances will be held Feb. 6 and Feb. 22. However, even when actors are not in costume, there will still be things to see in the exhibit, including Fine’s photography.
Depending on volunteers, there could be pop-up performances during the museum’s regular hours.
“Synchronized Swimmers” will travel to other museums in Mobile and Birmingham as well as North Carolina and Kentucky after it leaves Dothan. And if you can’t make it to the museum for the Art After Hours performance Jan. 16, the museum plans to stream the performance on Facebook and Instagram, as does Fine. Search @fannieamericus to follow Jenny Fine on Instagram and find Wiregrass Museum of Art by searching @wmafan.
“It’s really cool in my home region to be able to launch this project,” Fine said.