Friday, August 18, 2006

Den Nya Framtidsvetenkapen | Lisa Boyle Gallery

Den Nya Framtidsvetenkapen | Lisa Boyle Gallery
Originally Posted on Panel-House: September 2004

My parents just got back from Germany and while they were there, my mom (who usually proceeds to make a joke out of just about anything) said that every year a contest is held for who can make the longest, logical word. And you might be surprised but Framtidsvetenkapen falls ten letters short of last year’s winner.

Den Nya Framtidsvetenkapen (The New Science Fiction) opened at the relatively new Lisa Boyle Gallery on August 7th. Housed in an industrial building comprised mainly of recording studios, Boyle’s gallery is joined to Western Exhibitions, in fact, to visit the latter you have to walk through the Boyle gallery. These two exhibition spaces are pleasant surprises among their surroundings of sleepy freight railroad tracks and lonely signaling bridges.

The show is “a collection of works meditating upon domestic design and gardening” gathered under the title “The New Science Fiction.” Curated by EC Brown, the show ponders the connection between science fiction and domestics and finds these connections are not a new strain of genre even though these works could potentially show “the grand new realms in domestic possibilities.” Instead these connections are merely tactical “devising a situation where weird/surreal exertions risk striking a flat note.” The works in this show were strong and visually appealing but after leaving the gallery the question was how do we see the curatorial statement shaping the choice of works in the show?

Kara Braciale’s floor constructions are made of ceramic tiles, grout and foam. Mixed Flock (Covering) expertly displays an ordinary domestic element in an organic way. These pieces waver in between the realms of the home and science fiction. If one were to find this in a home, say being used as a rug, it would come close to serving its function but fall short since rugs are usually made out of some type of cloth. Thereby these pieces do “risk striking a flat note” since they leave a frustrated feeling since they cannot fall neatly into the domestic or science fiction arenas.

A scherinschnitte installation of works on paper by Shona MacDonald and Eric Salus use images from their own domestic space in order to disrupt notions of traditional rural scenes. The various drawings show hand juicers, eggbeaters, plants and a red tree, which instead of having leaves has televisions, clocks and stoves hanging from its branches. Fusing nature with elements of the home MacDonald and Salus extend the possibilities of this union.

For Wallpaper Sumakshi Singh took molds of existing irregularities of the walls of the gallery and employed them as a decorative element. By gathering them on one wall, she creates an intriguing brand of wallpaper where flaws are celebrated. These reminded me of Rena Leinberger’s At the Edge exhibition at the old Gallery 400 space where she took molds of electrical outlets, doorknobs and hinges and placed them in unusual places around the gallery space. They could be easily missed but called attention to the beautiful simplicity of elements we take for granted. Singh’s work differs however because it stretches the possibilities of interior design rather than pointing out overlooked fixtures.

So often are curatorial statements so loosely applied to works in an exhibition that even though the works are good they end up lost since they do not adhere to the mission of the show. The curatorial vision as seen in the works in this show is commendable. However if an exhibition is going to put such an intense amount of weight in its curatorial statement as this one did (and if this statement is fairly theoretical) than it should be explained more overtly and clearly.

Wriiten by Mary Gustaitis-Beyer

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