Sunday, May 23, 2010

Westchester Biennial 2010

On Friday, Natalya and I went to the Westchester Biennial 2010 at the Castle Gallery of The College of New Rochelle. It was .... interesting. It's clear from this exhibit that I need some education before I could possibly become a curator or juror because there was a lot of art here that I simply didn't understand. However, there was one piece that I feel in love with: "Junk Spirit" by Tomoko Abe.

"Junk Spirit" 2009, Tomoko Abe

Abe believes that "all that exist in the world have spirit and life of their own" and as such, she mixes what others would call trash with her own ceramic work to create marvelous installations. One of the gallery workers informed us that the piece on exhibit at the Biennial was slightly smaller than the artist had intended due to space constraints, but at 6 feet x 9.7 feet, it didn't feel cramped. The arrangement of the objects within the installation were arranged as if flowing in a current, the flotsam and jetsam of the sea, but beautiful. Abe mixed plastic containers, shells, even parts from an old computer and allowed them to circulate around ceramic work she created.

I was glad that the gallery used a white wall for this installation because the color didn't compete with the objects on display. But it also allowed for the third element of the piece to be better appreciated: shadow. Gallery lights were placed at opposite ends of the room, shining back onto the piece, so the light intersected in the middle. All the elements were wonderfully highlighted and given additional depth, but some very playful shadows were also created. It was almost like a game to discover all the different variations.

I was very glad to hear that Abe has been offered a solo show later this year (or early next year, the docent couldn't recall) and I'll be on the lookout so I can attend. Have you seen any cool art lately?


Natalya Aikens said...

I'm so glad we went, I love Tomoko's work..

Michigoose said...

Rest assured, Vivien, you could be a curator. Yes, we get courses in design and learn to critque pieces, but sometimes the more unintelligible, the more meaning ascribed to it....even if there really ISN'T any meaning...sometimes a cigar is a cigar...sometimes the artist is just doing, not making a statement and leaves it up to the audience to divine their own statement.

Shadow IS a big part of things, and one that people often discount. I wonder if the artist had any input on the lighting of the piece, or if it was done by the installers/curators. In my case, the curator was also the lighting technician, painter, etc...bigger places have a staff...

This would have been fun to see. Thanks for sharing.

norma said...

I've been to several exhibits, although not recently, where shadows played an important part of the display. The Glass show at the Katonah Museum and some things at the MADD museum come to mind. I always think it's so cool, but also wonder if it is the artist's instructions or the curator's choice.