Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yes Virginia, There Is An Audience

"so I grabbed the little sucker and..."

Lawndale gets up on blogger with a little help from intern Virginia Shaw, who is quite a sweet writer!

One really interesting aspect of the shows this time around is how well all the installations work together, creating a cohesive experience from the first floor to the third floor. Barry Stone’s photography starts it off by presenting works that work with many different ideas, particularly a tenuous balance between real and illusionary space, between natural and urbanized locations. There is also a sound component to Stone’s show, which helps tie his photographs together into a kind of narrative experience. His show moves nice into Kathy Kelley’s installation in the O’Quinn gallery, which has been entirely transformed by her enormous sculptural pieces made out of old tires. The way she has constructed and manipulated the material gives the work a sense of movement, so that it almost seems to become a living landscape, with mysterious orifices and tendrils and pods.

On the mezzanine, Patrick Renner has set up three telephone poles, adorned with ages worth of staples, pins, and nails. Each pole is equipped with mechanisms that, when moved around the pole, translates those nails and staples into sound, as a way to reveal a kind of secret message or communication that is intrinsically embedded in the poles. It works well with Kathy Kelley’s work, as both reutilize urban materials and imbues these otherwise inanimate and well-used objects with a new kind of life.

Another aspect of Renner’s telephone poles was his attempt to connect with childhood memories by turning the poles into music boxes. The mechanisms work in a similar fashion as old music boxes – turn an arm and the sound is created by the striking of a nail. This connection with childhood imagery follows on the third floor with Aram Nagle’s work. By referencing childhood pastimes – football games, toy soldiers, etc. – Nagle attempts to create a basic language to help define one of life’s most complicated events: war. In the project space Nagle has created a large play-battle field, complete with goals and yardlines and players – or, that is, soldiers. The soldiers can be wheeled around, and viewers are invited to create their own game with these elements.