I went to the exhibition at the Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center a few days ago, and it made me think.
Probably not in the way that (at least one of) the artists were intending on inspiring, but nevertheless, it made me think about the effects of Postmodernism, one that a whole movement devoted itself to: the death of aesthetics.
The two artists, current residents at ART 342, Krista Caballero and Lindsay Pichaske, seem diametrically opposed. Pichaske, whose only work in the space is a huge sculpture that takes up a third of the room, creates peculiar and beautiful sculptures of animals with nontraditional materials, while Caballeroâ€™s work is moreâ€¦ conceptual, I suppose.
She is a new media artist, working outside of the bounds of medium. Which is all good and well, when applied properly.
Not to belittle Caballero; her piece, All Appears Orange, is well intentioned. It is an attempt to call to attention the rising frequency of natural disasters.
However, Iâ€™m not certain how this call to attention is supposed to be brought about.
The work itself is a combination of three installations and a video piece. There are bunches of tiny photographic stills pinned about two inches above the floor starting at a wall and extending to the middle of the room, a modified hardhat with antennae and headphones on the wall. The center is dominated by a mobile radio antenna with headphones and orange flags attached to the antenna.
The first thing it reminded me of was an overgrown orange umbrella.
The video piece is a series of vignettes interspersed with frames of alternating pure white or pure orange color, with the sound of leaves rustling or perhaps waves played over them.
The vignettes themselves are of someone using the â€œumbrellaâ€ (for lack of a better word) to presumably listen to radio signals.
For what, Iâ€™m not certain. Tornado warnings? Flood alerts, perhaps? Thereâ€™s a motif of orange warning flags, radio antenna, and power lines throughout the whole installation.
Passage, Pichaskeâ€™s giant sculpture, follows more closely to the goals of aestheticism.
Made out of wire and human hair, it depicts an ethereal form of a whale skeleton, suspended at shoulderâ€™s height. The physical space is intimate, due in part by the interesting divisions caused by almost-invisible wire.
You can either view it from a distance or physically enter the sculpture, where her masterful use of human hair becomes apparent.
The sculpture does something that few sculptures do successfully: it uses the three-dimensionality of the medium to quite literally draw the viewer in and creates a much more personal and tangible experience through it.
The fragility of the materials used is also beneficial. It immediately brings to mind the fragility of life, especially when contrasted by the skeleton that it represents.
Itâ€™s definitely a good show and very convenient and accessible for students. You should also check out the â€˜Artist Talkâ€™ by Pichaske this Thursday at 6 p.m. in Room 230 of the Lory Student Center. It closes Friday, so nowâ€™s the time to check it out!
Local art columnist Alan Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.