November 2000


@ Smack Mellon

The immense interior of this former spice factory is currently filled to perfection by Griffiths' assemblage of highly diverse yet spatially interlocking works. She brings to bear her customary sensitivity to both the personal sensibilities of individual artists and the interrelation of their works within the surrounding space.

Here the pieces each carve out a sector of their own, responding to specific environmental characteristics, while maintaining the rhythm of the entire grouping. On entering, your attention may be captured by Freedman's billboard-sized mural on the overlooking balcony, where a punchy array of almost folkart-sryle figures return the stare of their audience and direct attention back into the space below.

Meanwhile, in the adjacent project room. Kotik's wall-to-wall installation creates a haven of domestic tranquility--with a lush recreation of an heirloom Turkish rug linked to a homespun linoleum pattern, as a surprising mixture of the familiar and the exotic. Below that, tucked away in the side gallery are Starr's constructions of layered foam-sponge, saturated and dripping with (dried) paint: this inventive use of unusual matenals suggests the interruption of an ongoing process, with an effect reminiscent of stop-action photography. 

In the main gallery Beech's squarish, room-like enclosure provides a moonng for the entire group, somewhere between object and volume, it is actually a takeoff on the form of industrial dumpsters - becoming almost intimate and inviting by virtue of its lowered threshold, its human dimensions, and its glossy chartreuse walls. Navigating around it allows you to enter the rarefied atmosphere of Smack's lyrical evocation of a swirling river-bend. Here a floor-level arrangement of transparent rubber tubing forms a structure of undulating curves in concentric ovais, w-iih aerated water pumped through in rhythmic bursts. Shimmering and hypnotic, the clarity of this rushing blue flow is punctuated only by air bubbles, as it simultaneously pulses through the wave-like rums of the tubing and the depths of your own psyche. As a perfect companion to it (and a tether for the cavernous ceiling), Boddie's anchored but floating kites display images of drifting clouds and watchful eyes in an installation that suggests the intertwining of heightened consciousness with the freedom of a summer's day. Beyond them is Acevedo's suspended stack of box-shaped mosquito netting - forming a fragile cage-like structure for a transparent figure covered with lottery print - an homage to the artist's father who ran a numbers racket to survive in his adopted homeland.

Finally, Schlatter's lifesize vinyl photo of a large, paneled garage door references both opening and solid surface--and takes its place so naturally on the remaining factory wall that most viewers will give it a wide berth in anticipation of us movement. Traversing these highly specific zones set within this yawning commercial space. One derives a generous sense of passage, as Griffiths directs you from one meditation to another, where the works each claim their own territory while gesturing to the next.

Group Sculpture Show
curated by Manan Griffiths
Work by Manual Acevedo, John Beech, Terry Boddie, Matt Freedman, Tom Kotik, Heidi Schlatter, Claudia Schmacke, and Susanne Starr.

--Deborah Everett

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