Friday, February 25, 2011

Stephen G. Rhodes - Metro Pictures

The current installation piece by Stephen G. Rhodes in Chelsea’s Metro Pictures gallery provokes the senses and resuscitates sedated areas of the brain causing disorientation as they awaken to timeless clocks, broken drinking mugs and a four wall rotating projection beaming images of parking lot fires and wig wearing men. Rhodes’ textual translation of Immanuel Kant’s The Illnesses of the Head is then further transmogrified into the visual realm making the artist’s New York debut exhibition a dense jungle of connotations.

Rhodes’ fusion of eighteenth century philosophy and twenty first century art production either attract or repel observers instantly. The first room of the three-room installment stages a familiar setting for viewers who are subject to delirium. For the more rational viewers, the first room, a showcase of ordinary domestic objects bathed in Rhodes’ artistic elixir, is vexing; they agitate into the succeeding rooms in search of elucidation.

The second room hosts a video segment which is projected onto the prude, orthodox, white walls of the Chelsea gallery. Rhodes encircles the visitors with turbulent noises and obscure imagery as the projector orbits around a desolate table lamp in the center of the room.

The final room in Rhodes’ installment is spatially more fragmented (artificial wall positioned to shatter the rooms quadratic floor plan) but visually more conservative. The finale of mixed media sculpture, mounted wall cabinets and floor grazing canvases is the closest thing comprehension-seeking visitors will encounter before they exit; greeted by the reality of a un-salted New York sidewalk in February.


  1. That first sentence is a mouthful, try breaking it down into two. The last sentence should be “an” unsalted NY sidewalk, not “a” unsalted sidewalk.

    There are a few things that I think you left out. Like, the hidden portions of the installation that one had to really pay attention to find. I wanted to hear more about the second room and its content. I saw that room as a focal point. Also, I’d try to stay away from being presumptuous about the viewer (i.e. “for the more rational viewer”). If one didn’t find the room vexing are they not rational? I immediately thought about Adolf Loos and how distasteful and assuming his manifestos were, and I don’t think you want that reaction.

    Since you liked the show, I’d like to see you defend it more. Make a better argument. You’re very objective, which is good through most of it, but at the end, leave room to make your case.

    Overall I think you did a great job describing the space and the installation. I know with only 250 words, it’s hard to describe everything as fully as we’d like. I enjoyed reading this, though. I knew you liked the show, so I was interested on a bit more of your opinion of it coming through in the review.

  2. The first paragraph is awkward, especially the first sentence which is overwhelmed with too many ideas. I would break it up or pick one idea on which to concentrate.

    I disagree with your assertion: "Rhodes’ fusion of eighteenth...instantly." The viewer's first reaction is to the visceral experience of the installation, not Rhodes' use of eighteenth century philosophy.

    "bathed in Rhodes’ artistic elixir" is a colorful explanation, but it doesn't tell the reader anything about what the objects/installation actually looked like.

    "as the projector orbits" The projection orbits, not the projector.

    Like your first sentence, the last one is jam-packed with too many ideas. I don't know what you mean by "comprehension-seeking visitors" - are there visitors whom actively do not want to understand the show?

    "the reality of a unsalted..." 1. an unsalted, not a unsalted 2. I imagine you were trying to highlight how different the freezing street is to Rhode's exhibition, but because the idea is tagged on to the end of the review it seems out of place.

    I feel 250 words were two few for you to say everything you wanted to about the show (and use all of your flare with adjectives) so you tried to cram in as much information as possible. For your revision, I would pick out one or two things to explain in a little more detail.