No Victory over Materials

| No TrackBacks
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver: Another Victory Over the Sun
June 9, 2011 - August 21, 2011
Victory over the Sun is the title of a 1913 Russian opera. Another Victory over the Sun is the name of the summer exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.

What this metaphor means is debatable. Is it the classic man vs. nature?

Maybe the works in this new Victory will shed light on the debate.

A video plays a big vertical projection of a building in New York City, the RCA building, a nice piece of early 20th C. architecture. It's fascinating to watch light hits the building in changing ways that really help define the 3-dimensional space of this cityscape. 

When I read more of the exhibition notes, I figure out that the artist, Erin Shirreff, has photographed sunlight moving throughout the day over an Ansel Adams' photograph of the building. I have some forward-thinking nostalgia about the experience of seeing printed matter in natural light at all times of day. This memory/recent experience is so unlike the constant light of a computer screen.

VictoryMonoliths.jpgIn the same room, are minimalist blocks of plaster by the same artist, who is currently artist in resident at the minimalist refuge in Marfa, Texas. Her thin planks stand braced against the wall, bent like something plastic, but now hard. The unnatural light from the cans on the ceiling make pretty shadows on the wall. These pieces are delicate, and mottled. Could be made of stone but they seem to fragile. And I'm warned by a museum guard not to get too close. I learn the material is plaster with an addition of Texas ash.

Here's the rub with battling nature: you may very easily lose. Shirreff added ash to the plaster, which weakened it, and didn't really make the fine waves I love to see in marble. Her technique left the planks susceptible to warping. And breakage. In fact, one of the pieces arrived broken. It is obvious she wanted clean, firm and natural forms.  It's a little too obvious this artist isn't used to physically making things.

To read or hear more UnsafeArt about this show, please visit Personal Victory.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by terry published on June 10, 2011 2:58 PM.

Victory over the Sun: Between the Moon and Sea was the previous entry in this blog.

Living Artist Declared Visually Ineffective is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.