Immediately entering the gallery, Kurt Mueller has chosen to display his work in the center of the space and it extends as far as possible. He leaves only a narrow path circumscribing the gallery. Reaching the opposite side of the entrance, you confront Rebecca Ward’s piece. Her tape installation creates an intrusive plane into the space that forces you to walk at an angle between the two artists’ works.
Both artists used home repair materials in the gallery-space-in-a-home. The living area turned art gallery has a vaulted ceiling. Ms. Ward used the corner where the wall meets the ceiling to create yet another wall of tape strips. As if that plane had shadows, the wall and ceiling have tape strips corresponding to the protruding strips. On one end of the wall, a couple of shadow strips continue up to the apex, over and down the other side of the ceiling onto a small shelf area over the entrance. There, another smaller triangular construction takes shape. The light color of the tape camouflages itself and almost melds into the white walls. Walking closely you can see that it is extending into the space and the need to tilt your head away seems mandatory. Where the main component is dark and imposing, the smaller arrangement is distant and stronger lit, emitting a warm glow.
Mr. Mueller taped down some protective sheeting on the floor; I’m assuming clear plastic, and applied spray texture in a shape mimicking the angle of the ceiling. The topography of the chalky matte texture suggests the surface of the moon or perhaps a dusty field. Used cans stand at the corners and define the perimeter of the map. Within it are three soccer balls of varying sizes. More cans of spray texture cover the largest. The midsize ball has short cans of spray paint and the smallest, a pink ball, has air fresheners and deodorizers. They all look like the head of a mace, or Sputnik, but more likely, they represent stars. It was evident that the paint ball was kicked across the landscape. Small, colorful spritz of paint dance across in an arched path, again mimicking the ceiling.
At first glance, Mr. Mueller’s installation appears to be a contractor’s mess. However, looking at the arrangement of the materials something of a map begins to take form. Whether it defines a terrain or a cosmic kingdom is unclear. The texture speaks of a scale model version of some hilly country. The triangles of color can denote some places of interest, stars or perhaps a page from a favorite team’s playbook. The simultaneous use of soccer balls as monuments or satellites proffers an understanding of the universe similar to ancient Mayan and Mesoamerican practices. Are the cans marking off the four corners of the world or are they just defining the boundary of the sculpture? Are the soccer balls signifiers of the deadly Mayan ballgame or are they just a nod towards the World Cup and the global adoration of the sport?
Ms. Ward did not seem to be as far reaching in her exploration of space, but it is deep. The imposition of her installation mines its effects on the viewer. The matching color to the background points out the illusory effect of paint in a room. The tape’s light color deceives the eye and maintains the gallery’s size. Within a closer vicinity to the larger element, the mind can feel oppressed and directs the body away from its sticky ribbons as the reduction of space becomes visible. A couple of unfortunate insects unaware of the manipulation lay trapped in the spider-less web.
Both artists obstruct and intrude into the gallery and the viewers’ space. From there they point to something far off and out of reach. GREAT
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.