Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Between Spaces at PS1

Between Spaces is a group show about materiality and the interpretation of everyday objects into new, altered and reinvented form. The idea in "Between Spaces"  is challenging because of its call for artists to combine solid and empty space into a unitary and cohesive meaning. Each artist in this show works very differently from one another and fulfills the theme of the show with various conceptual approaches. Working creatively with disparate elements and distilling them, they transform areas of separate rooms focusing their craft at the interstices and gaps of art work; inside and through an object rather than just in the round. See-through objects, scattered elements built into a larger whole, and large openings signifying something missing and unfinished. The less successful pieces but equally interesting include incorporating soda as paint onto floor, mini blinds into parabolic wall fans, and broken window centerpieces. In this unconventional manner where solidity is secondary, the artist is expressing the tension between "presence and absence" as described by the show's curating team, and explores this relationship and expand upon it. For the most part, and because of the complexity of the work, and the varied use of the everyday into inventive arrangements and constructions one finds oneself meditating more on the work due to the less obvious nature of the material.  

      In "Nightmoves" (2009, moving blankets, fluorescent lights, B+W laser printing, dimvar) by Sam Moyer there are large square ocean scenes juxtaposed next to equally sized squares of moving blankets wrapped around what appears to be a 4'x4' pieces of plywood. Their mutual abstractions and undulating patterns resemble each other and evoke ocean shore  landscapes. Decoding the ripple effect of each, the artist relates an equivalency in the blankets embroidery with the photos and plays them off one another as land and sea. Meanwhile the room is darkened to suggest night, with fluorescent backlighting giving an aura like moonlight. By equating moving blankets with photos of waves of water breaking along a shoreline Moyer seems to be conjuring the transitory nature of modern life. In this it is as if she is using all these elements in the context of ones ever changing location, always on the move in life's ebb and flow. The installation is rhythmic, it fills up the space while using the walls and floor as supports, and however dissimilar these elements are from each other apart, together they show an interesting cogent relationship in their patterns and placement in the room. The analogy seems to come together in that each place we go to is like reaching a new distant shore.

      David Altmejd's work "Untitled" (2009, plexi, chains, beads, acrylic paint) is a massive plexiglass box whose contents are diagrammatic, schematic and somewhat like a complex math problem in a 3D collage. The whole piece is cross between industrial and pretty and gaudy craft store material. Its quite fetishistic due to its opulent features, glorification of commodity, cheap poppiness and a banal uselessness and beauty.  That's also why it's so captivating too; regal but made in low brow materials. It convincingly straddles the digital and primitive simultaneously, thus transposing the ritualistic into the futuristic and fulfills the central premise of the show and it's "betweenness" in that you can see right through it.  From the outside leading in, the surface is engraved and scratched with a draftsman's confidence and connects to the chains that form lines into this three dimensional drawing and around inside. The inside includes wide ranging material like gold chains, beads and feathers and other crafty materials, all working together into something indescribable. Everything just connects playfully together as spontaneous and organic shapes form and interrelate and transform, all combining seamlessly and sparingly leading to the bottom of the cube to a plexi skeleton of some unknown animal.

     "Green Desert/missing the points" (2006-9, wood, mirrored glass, fur, wall paper, paint, sheet rock, stick pins, frames and table legs) by Heather Rowe is an archetype about the home because "Green Desert" seems highly filled with psychological exploration about domesticity. It is made mostly out of studs that form two parallel lines forming a room long hallway with other hallways leading from it but end where they begin, implying something unfulfilled. It's painted a gaudy sage green and tinted glass runs along the top giving it a feel of 70's decor, expressing a post-minimalist starkness and reduction in form. Upon closer inspection of "Desert" we discover little nooks in the walls that run along the whole piece that are filled with household items and other objects here and there; mirror pieces, table legs, wood flooring,...... unseeable if viewed from a distance. Together this choice of material interaction and use alludes to emptiness and to the vagaries of alienation, as it doesn't have any walls or a ceiling either. Its these hidden pieces that probably symbolize "missing points",  and the sense of feeling lost. Locked away inside and away from easy discovery, like hide and seek of our sub conscience thoughts, between walls and imbedded in them like recesses of our minds. Overall this work by Heather Rowe is one where she is describing a narrative of either her own reality or reflecting on some nightmare vision. Perhaps the obvious use of period construction and the reference to a different time is intended to display one which was harsher and more secretive than now. On the other hand its title, "Desert', conjures up a hazy memory of a destitute period filled with isolation like one would experience in a desert alone while exposed to its extreme environment or, in this case, when one no longer feel any attachment to their surroundings or home. "Desert" is a shelter that does not shelter and the 'points' are clearly made.

1 comment:

  1. Your review is quite thorough. I was not able to see the ‘Between Spaces’ exhibit, but it does an excellent job at helping the reader visualize the work—because it is so descriptive. I feel that your review is effective because it makes me want to go see the exhibit. ‘Nightmoves’ and ‘Green Dessert’ seem really interesting. I am interested to know your take on the exhibit in general. Did you find ‘Between Spaces’ to be successful overall? There is no concluding statement that provides the reader with an overall sense of the exhibit. They are left hanging after you discuss ‘Green Dessert’.