An image-filled reflection on MICA’s Art Walk
The first piece I saw, immediately next to the check-in tent outside the Fox Building was Miriam Cooper’s “Yolk #1″ (pictured left). This painting is gorgeous. I love the tension between its graphic and painterly qualities, its asymmetrical balance and somewhat creepy tone.
In the adjacent gallery, Justine Kablack serves Lisa Dillin-esque realness (or unrealness?) with a drop-ceiling light sculpture, flooring/astro turf piece, and painting of a sunset through venetian blinds. I’m hoping the similarities to Dillin’s locally well-publicized recent work are deliberate in some kind of meta-narrative of artificiality miming artificiality. (pictured right)
On the second floor, printmaker Rei Lem’s “Construction” dominates the gallery with its fluorescent palette, large scale and chaotic surface. I really loved her work. So much neon artwork that borrows commercial visual language feels like it’s whisking low-brow culture off to the ivory tower to be sarcastically judged. Lem, on the other hand, seems to be stealing the aesthetic back; returning it to a less-precious, approachable place. Its like a really cute DIY valentine to city life with all its texture and overlapping advertisements, tags, and tiny comedic moments. I was really glad I came for Art Walk and got to meet the artist; her approachable, bubbly personality totally matches what I expected based on her work. She was even giving out free screen-printed posters to visitors! It’s definitely going on my wall! (pictured below)
I’m glad I got to meet a lot of the artists whose work I was looking at. In the Brown Center, a totally unassuming collection of objects really impressed me. One was a flat-screen TV on the floor depicting an escalator going down. On the wall, a digital print sat on a shelf, slightly off the wall next to a chunk of granite with the artist’s handprint stenciled in spray paint. Forgive me, I cannot for the life of me remember the artist’s name and I spent hours trying to find it on Facebook, MICA’s website, and a ouija board. She explained that the print was photos of details from a sculpture collaged together, printed, and then presented in a “sculptural” manner. I told her that it reminded me of André Malraux’s “Museum Without Walls” (which postulated that photography could unite and juxtapose details of sculptures from across the world) and that I liked its relationship to the granite, technically a “print” on sculptural material. I have never seen a human face convey so much excitement that someone else “got” their work. Of all the work this year that deals with issues of representation vs. reality, hers felt the least like a one-liner and strangely poetic despite its kind of “un-aesthetic”.(pictured right)
STAY TUNED FOR PART II