Okay, HUGE difference from opening night to a quiet midweek afternoon. You have to have the right atmosphere for this to work.
I had heard of Dario Robleto’s work before, but I had never seen or experienced any. And I had just plain never heard of Jeremy Blake. So the excitement of them working together was lost to me. Robleto had two lectures, one on campus and one for his show. I missed both. Oh well.
The first thing I saw is also my favorite part of the show. The tiny, empty hallway with its luscious, deep red… I wanted to touch it and caress its velvety smoothness with my fingertips. Of course I didn’t do that, but I wanted to. First runner up was Robleto’s hallway with the set of marbles arranged in concentric circles on th pile of dust. I simultaneously thought of children playing a game and a mapping of the cosmos. It made me think of the Grandmaster, which made me think of Thanos, the Infinity Gaunlet and the ending to Men In Black. And I go into this whole God and gods, destiny versus free will and burning ants with a magnifying glass (hee hee hee) trip.
As I stood around soaking in the work, I was able to absorb the blatant subtleties (hows that for an oxymoron) of the works. Each piece whispered of an otherworldly presence. Whether it was the use of bones, prosthetics, or ghostly forms, both artists included elements to enforce this theme of haunting spirits or preoccupation with nostalgia and memory of something lost. As objects, Robleto’s pieces were good. They presented themselves as relics or antiques of some time ago with paranormal, paranoid aspects of them that are such equal parts because of their shared history, fictional or otherwise. I didn’t really catch all of Blake’s video’s but what I did see reminded me of a screensaver. The movements of the psychodelic forms imitated both ghosts and a fractal image on an inactive computer monitor.
I have nothing against the work. There just wasn’t enough energy coming from them. Again, I think it comes down to space. The show seemed very institutionalized. The objects were placed on pedestals, encased in glass and lit like they belonged in a museum presentation. You know, like one of Disney’s animatronic dioramas. The room is darkened and the lone spotlight slowly illuminates the swaying rocking chair in the center. The voiceover speaks with the crackling of an old recording. It adds mood, but doesn’t quite convince the skeptics (or perhaps the jaded). My apologies to Mr. Blake, but I think the two hallways were my favorites because there were no videos distracting them and so the lighting was more controlled.
The work was good, no doubt. But I prefer my art to have more in common with its audience. The presentation was too detached from what I am comfortable with. This show is NOT BAD.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.