Curated by Rebecca Graves
Mary Temple, Robert Ressler, Bill Schuck, Liza McConnell, Itty Neuhause, Kathleen Gilrain and Virginia Beahan & Laura McPhee
September 13 - October 26, 2003
In the upcoming exhibit "Landslide," Smack Mellon Gallery presents the work of eight artists who use revisionary tactics to approach the tradition of landscape art. Much of the work turns that tradition on its head by creating physical and experiential landscapes within the gallery setting, rather than showing realistic representations of our natural world.
Bill Schuck has created a machine, akin to a medieval trebuchet that lofts airborne powdered plaster throwing it into a corner of the gallery. In this work entitled, "Surge," the plaster meets with mist and over the course of the exhibit creates a landscape not unlike a limestone cave from which the plaster was originally mined.
Overhead in the highest reaches of the 40' gallery space, Kathleen Gilrain uses moving air as her medium. The work is made physical when the winds are caught in one-thousand one -hundred and fifty-two brightly colored plastic bags that sway back and forth like the breezes of late summer.
Rob Ressler quite literally begins his work with the landscape using large cut trees and branches that he carves into elegant elongated wooden sculptures that hang horizontally, as if free-floating with the lightness of seed-pods in air.
In Mary Temple's "Window Sculpture" light and shadow are cast on a large wall of the gallery from light filtering through a window and the trees that surround it. When the viewer turns to find the window, it doesn't exist, and it is in this delightful moment of being duped that the conceptual wall-work draws it irresistible power.
The power of the phenomenal landscapes of Iceland are projected in a pair of adjoining tent-like structures in Itty Neuhaus' "Slip." the gallery visitor becomes a participant rather than a viewer when inside the tents, walking over boiling geothermal pools to look up into a soaring shaft of glacial crevices, ice caves and icebergs. The artist's journey to Iceland to film these phenomena took place over the last year and the sense of the artist as adventurer is evident.
The photographic team of Virginia Beahan and Laura McPhee have also traveled to Iceland to record that dramatic landscape. The human effect on the land is stunningly represented in these large-scale pictures,††whether they are recording far-away, exotic locals or those closer to home, such as a bridge in Trenton, New Jersey.
Liza McConnell shows a touch of the alchemist in her ability to take common hardware store materials and with the help of lights and lenses create projected landscapes that awe and delight. Using torn paper she convincingly presents "The Colorado Front Range," which is presented here.