Unhooked from Time: A timely exhibit
by Grant Mandarino
Whatever you do, don't let the rather hokey title Unhooked from Time dissuade you from visiting the new show at Gallery Project. There are some real gems here.
Nicole Gordon's Asylum is one. A large pen-and-ink-on-Mylar depiction of some aristocrat's creepy reception hall, complete with totem poles, elk trophy, and roly-poly penguin creatures, the work does not really speak to the curator's claim that we've "artificially hooked ourselves to linear digital time," but so what? A piece like Asylum caters more to visual pleasure than conceptual gimmicks.
Having said this, much of the show does relate to the theme of time, often metaphorically, on occasion in a more literal sense. Joshua Ray Smith, for instance, juxtaposes photographs of old wooden doors whose scarred and weather-warped planks are missing their hinges with what appear to be the actual hinges below them. We thus get a sense of both the physical and visual effects brought to bear on manufactured objects by the passing years. Charles Jevremovic's Wall of Circuit Board Panels achieves something similar, since nothing signifies the rapid pace of technological obsolescence more than a bunch of broken circuit boards. Compared to the tiny electronics that feed our miniature computers today, these panels of transistors and wires look giant and ancient, like the remnants of some long-forgotten civilization (the 1980s).
Natural time versus human time is the real theme of the exhibition, and most of the works stand somewhere between the two. Brent Fogt's Oak turns geometry into a tree. It's made up entirely of small hatch marks grouped in polygonal clusters. The result is a representation of a giant oak tree, also on Mylar, that wonderfully demonstrates the painstaking amount of time such a process must have taken. Mixed media works by Jennilie Brewster such as Nucleat and Bomb capture notions of apocalyptic time splendidly with their dramatic scribbling, layered surfaces, and punctures. Renata Palubinskas's beautiful oil on board miniature, Girl with Bird, catches a young woman's moment of calm under rays of celestial light and resonates with a sense of timelessness no other work on display equals.
Of the several video works in the exhibit, Chris Koelsch's satirical take on immortality, via an outdated informational video complete with tacky Muzak and clunky editing, is the most memorable. Be sure to walk past the videos in the basement to see Meghan Reynard's Tunnels. Composed of mirror-lined wooden boxes with illuminated objects inside them, the light-shapes seem to recede infinitely into the floor. It's a pity they are not displayed more prominently. They are wonderful and represent the high point in this timely exhibition.