Destined to Be Happy is a new site-specific installation by Russian artist Irina Korina that deliberately forgoes a specific narrative or reading in favour of a host of dynamic and evolving associations. Entering the gallery through a side alley, the viewer moves through a dark tunnel which then opens out into a kind of maze, framed by curved corrugated steel panels and burnt out trees. Silver confetti is scattered across the wooden floor of the space while industrial plastic, occasionally bowed under by pockets of water, frames the ceiling. The walls are also draped in plastic, giving the space the strange aura of a construction site, perhaps a half finished retail space. The most visually striking element of the exhibition is the six large figures assembled atop the protruding legs of mannequin dummies, identified in the exhibition text as The Globe, The Tear Drop, The Fire, The Heart, The Rainbow and The Meteorite. A soundscape composed by Sergey Kasich adds an ominously shifting sonic palette to the installation, where elements slowly merge into one another, thereby blurring the line between fragments of identifiable found sound and digital abstractions. Continue reading
I’m increasingly realizing that most art can only be experienced in person; the expansive and visceral terrain of a Jackson Pollock canvass, for example, its paint in places measuring nearly a half-inch thick, is entirely lost in translation when transposed into a deadened image in a book (and I can forgive someone for finding Pollock underwhelming if they only ever encounter him in diminutive digital or print reproductions). At Chicago’s Contemporary Museum of Art is a strong pair of exhibitions which emphatically make the point that art is, at its essence, experiential. Together, they demand viewer interaction and emotional response. Continue reading
Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s coral reef crocheted project has been shown all over the world, but the current exhibition of their work and that of their many worldwide collaborators at Museum of Art and Design’s Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas show is one of the best that I’ve seen. Continue reading
Metalworker David Huang refers to his works as “vessels,” but it’s little wonder people also call them “treasures.” On first sight, it’s hard to know what to call them; technically, they’re indeed metallic vessels, but it’s inconceivable that they would ever actually be used. Their interiors, after all, are lined with 23 karat gold. They’re indisputably beautiful, but the statement they make isn’t just visual. Continue reading
In the 1993 film, Falling Down, Michael Douglas plays an engineer who suffers a psychotic breakdown while stuck in traffic trying to get to his daughter’s birthday party. He abandons his car on the freeway and proceeds to stalk through Los Angeles on foot, trying desperately to “go home,” while steadily encountering the flotsam and jetsam of the early 90’s recession years on the American West Coast. Among other things, the film is a meditation on crisis, the postulation of a society in decline. Continue reading
It’s easy to think of sculpture as art in three dimensions. But at root, sculpture is about space.
Walking into the Center for Contemporary Native Art gallery at the Portland Art Museum to see the Salish weaving show Restoring the Breath— Sacred Relationship, I wasn’t immediately struck by the use of space in the way that I would be at a more traditional exhibition of sculpture. And yet, the space is in the room. Continue reading