What do men who hang from the ceiling, birds with human heads, long swirling shadows and the Grand Canyon have in common? You guessed it! They are all mental byproducts of this week’s Williamsburg Every Second.
When I think of my visit to Parker’s Box, I’m reminded of men being dangled by their ankles, their shirts slipping down to their shoulders. When I imagine myself back at Ch’i, I imagine someone pouring industrial resin into the Grand Canyon. Front Room brings to mind sterile shadows and artificial intelligence while memories of Like the Spice are stored in my brain right next to flashbacks of watching “The Twilight Zone” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Put another way, it was an interesting WES this month. The openings I attended stayed with me on some level, regardless of whether I really liked their art – a testament to the originality of this month’s exhibitions.
Let’s start with the upside-down men. Parker’s Box opened “Mortal Coil,” an exhibition about the fragility of our existence. Four artists from Northern Europe were featured, each with works that incorporated moving images. Edith Dekyndt’s “Slow Object 05” was a video projection of an endless, silent loop. Simon Faithfull’s “Orbital No.1” also looped images. John Gerrard’s “Grow / Finish Unit” was in Real time 3D, and last but not least was Agnieszka Kalinowska’s “Personal Doping.”
“Personal Doping” was my personal favorite. It showed someone, back facing forward, hanging upside down and being lowered. The interesting part was that the camera stayed still and only showed about two feet of the person’s body at a time. First you saw arms and a head, then you saw the waist, then the legs, then the feet. It was hypnotic, if nothing else, and kept a small audience staring intently at the piece for quite a long time even though it repeated itself often.
A reception was held for Christopher Harrington’s show “Shimmering Matter” at Ch’i this Williamsburg Every Second. Harrington’s pieces looked like glass paintings and are an abstract combination of shapes and colors created by mixing industrial resin with paint.
“I love their transparency,” said Harrington. “They look like gems.”
When asked what other people saw in his works, which lack definitive figures, he said, “I’m always surprised by what people say they see. People are also surprised by the depth of the pieces when they see them in person after only seeing photos,” he continued. “Photographs don’t do the depth of the works justice. Kind of like the Grand Canyon.”
What lacked depth for me were Erik Guzman’s sculptures on display at Front Room. Guzman’s opening of “Who Made Who” was a collection of drawings and three polished aluminum and Plexiglas sculptures which were rigged to cast long swirling shadows when a viewer came close to them. It was cool in an A.I. sort of way, but I’ve never been into A.I. It’s too creepy. Mush like the Spice’s opening of Dean Goelz’ “Migrations” was also a bit creepy. Goelz, who told me he’s always been interested in how the world can be just as awkward as it is beautiful, created sculptures of ducks (or were they geese?) with human heads. One of the sculptures was a self-portrait and actually had a head that he created in his likeness. Goelz did a great job of uniting beauty with awkwardness in this show. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the borderline grotesque creatures.
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