Thursday, March 31, 2011

"The Light Show" at Kate Werble Gallery (revised)

The Light Show features nine New York City-based artists who each made a self-illuminating artwork specifically for the exhibition. The result is a group of very differing pieces. Some of the artists took the objective more literally and created pieces that could be functional lamps, others are more imaginative.

A highlight of the show is Matthew Ronay's Advance/Deteriorate. The sculpture reaches to a dramatic 10 feet tall. It is made using an array of materials - such as leather, fabric, metal and beads. The haunting piece looks like it represents a ceremony from an ancient culture. It is composed of a life sized shape of a body wrapped in dark cloth lying on a white cloth, which mimics the shape of the body, on the floor. Along the edges of the cloth the artist has printed a small decorative symbol; this gives it the look of an Oceanic or ancient Greek culture. Coming out of the hollow face area of the body is a pole with three levels. Each level is lit from within a surrounding form. The first level is an elongated dark dome shape with almost life sized sculpted white hands hanging all around the rim. The next two levels are open circular lampshades with intricately laced threads and beads hanging from them.

Heather Rowe's sculpture is humorous. It looks as though she approached a home as if it were a cake and took a narrow slice out of the hallway. Elements of a home are compressed into a six-foot high, four-inch by four-inch partially enclosed rectangular space. When you look at the piece initially you see the reflection of the elements inside the piece's space - a mirrored surface is placed on the inside of one of the long areas of the piece's interior. The familiar domestic objects in the reflection draw you in. Placed on the opposite long side to the mirror is a narrow strip of wallpaper. The wallpaper looks like the kind you might find in an old-fashioned living room - dark floral line patterns. Placed on the "ceiling" of this compressed space is a small old-fashioned hanging lamp. On the "floor" of the sculpture is a clever patch of carpet.

The artworks fulfill one objective, each in a unique way. Some of the pieces walk a line between art and design. Together the works create a beautiful display of light and form.


  1. In the first paragraph, I wouldn’t use self-illuminating twice so close together. See if you can run those two sentences together into one.

    You might very briefly say why you are focusing on these two pieces in particular – you started to, by saying that some of the others were decorative, but I think that you should explain why it is that you’re saying so much about these, and give us a better idea of the others.

    I’m not sure how much the pieces serve two distinct functions by being illuminating. I think you mean that they satisfy objectives of both the artist and the gallerist, but you also seem to be saying that, by being self-illuminating, they are design objects, which ties into but broadens your earlier statement about them being decorative. I think that both of these points could use clarification.

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  3. I think the first sentence is kind of out of place and a kind of boring way to open up the review. I don’t think it’s even necessary that you put the dates in the review at all. Maybe just start off by saying “The Light Show at Kate Werble Gallery features nine New York…” The third sentence is awkward. Maybe try something like, “Making the piece self-illuminating was the only rule. With this their only boundary, the results were….”
    Second paragraph, “Along the edges of the cloth…” is a bit awkward. Trying taking out “this” and adding “which. I think the haunting and dramatic descriptions are on point, I felt the same way. I think it had a lot to do with the space as well, but I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Maybe investigate the space in context with the work.
    I thought this was an interesting show, so I’m glad you tackled it. I enjoyed the way you described Heather Rowe’s sculpture, comparing it to a slice of cake. It was an accurate comparison and humorous.
    I don’t think they walked a fine line. There were only two that I would have considered design but the rest were fine art.