We’ve seen innovative art made from tape before. The work of Monika Grzymala, though, is ambitious, seemingly chaotic, and even violent. Using over three miles of black tape, Grzymala inundate’s the gallery space. The tape wraps around corners and seems to splatter on to the wall as if it were liquid. Grzymala’s work adds dimensionality to a usually flat material in a way that is surprising and nearly disturbing. By appearing to forcibly occupy the gallery space, the installation compels the viewers to interact with the space in a new way.
The conceptual installations of artist Ole Ukena have a certain subtle humor. However, the installations don’t seem intentionally funny as much as the surprising innocence of a young insight. Each installation seems to pose a simple question that isn’t easily answered. Appropriately, Ukena is also the founder of a foundation that organizes collaborations between artists and youths worldwide. Ukena says of his process;
“I am not limiting myself to one medium. I simply can’t. It’s a constant adventure, finding new materials in the countries in which I travel, encountering objects or phrases that can be transformed into specific, meaningful pieces. While my work often displays a strong conceptual nature, I am also very drawn to the intuitive.This balancing energy forces me to step out of my mind and just create. These forces are like my left and right hand. My works try to create a map of the human mind, in an attempt to tell a tale about the very nature of it with all its possibilities, limitations, irritations, and hopes.”
As a part of his latest solo exhibit, Robert Barta‘s new installation CROSSING HALF A MILLION STARS is impressive looking as an installation. Barta means the number literally. The floor of the gallery space is filled with 500,000 ball bearings – that’s half a million eight millimeter steel balls. However, the installation is also a means to a performance and audience engagement. Visitors are invited to walk across the field of bearings…very carefully. The visitors pay extra care and attention to the typically simple task of walking. CROSSING HALF A MILLION STARS allows visitors to consider the space, their actions, and each other just a bit differently. Really, this theme persists through the exhibit in its entirety.
The artwork of Hans Kotter is decidedly centered around light. Here Kotter creates tubes of lights that appear to stretch on infinitely into the wall. He uses color changing LED lights that shine behind a warped one way mirror. The backing mirror then duplicates the LED lights infinitely. Kotter’s piece are continually changing as the color of the lights gradually shift and as the viewer moves about the room. Though technically constructed from Plexiglas, mirrors, and diodes, it is really the light endlessly bouncing between the mirrors that compose Kotter’s work.
Zander Olsen wraps white fabric around trees to “intervene” with the organic lines of a landscape, often blurring our sense of foreground and background to generate a jarring sense of flatness. Olsen suggests such compositions convey a new “visual relationship between tree, not-tree and the line of horizon according to the camera’s viewpoint.” As a result, the lush wonders of Wales, Surrey, and Hampshire are transformed into beautiful abstract images, with pops of white.
Kristian Burford’s art installations meditate on the postmortem state of sexual arousal without a partner present. Nestled in a messy realistic setting, each carefully constructed wax figure seems to sigh inward, recollecting him or herself after an erotic whim has been satiated. However, the intention does not stop there: it seethes and penetrates with primal implications. Encountering each diorama, our own interior worlds are challenged and heightened as we find ourselves cast to confront not so much nudity, but even more so, our own erotic inclinations as possible voyeurs.
Artist Ivan Navarro is known for his work with neon and fluorescent lighting. Using the lights in with a one-way mirror and a regular mirror Navarro’s sculpture to extend endlessly. They appear to extend on into infinite darkness, adding a weighty metaphorical layer to his artwork. His work conveys a certain uneasiness with each pieces ambiguous text, which exacerbated by the visual abyss. “There is a certain amount of fear in my pieces”, he has appropriately said. “I make spaces in a fictional way to deal with my own psychological anxiety.”
Artist Motoi Yamamoto is known for his sprawling installations entirely composed of carefully poured salt. His newest installation Charlotte, North Carolina’s Mint Museum is titled Floating Garden. Existing for slightly under a month, the community was invited to ‘dismantle’ the installation. A huge swirling pattern, one familiar from nature, covers the floor. Upon closer inspection, the hurricane-like shape is a tight network of neat lines of salt. Salt is replete with symbolism in Western culture but has special meaning in Japanese culture. The museum explains:
“Salt, a traditional symbol for purification and mourning in Japanese culture, is used in funeral rituals and by sumo wrestlers before matches. It is frequently placed in small piles at the entrance to restaurants and other businesses to ward off evil spirits and to attract benevolent ones. Motoi forged a connection to the substance while mourning the death of his sister, at the age of twenty-four, from brain cancer, and began to create art out of salt in an effort to preserve his memories of her.” [via]