Kat Murrell
Visual Art

Truth and Fiction

Two shows use visual projections that suggest a story or maybe don’t. Plus, plenty of suggestions for this weekend's Gallery Night.

By - Jan 17th, 2014 11:46 am
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Alix Pearlstein, Moves in the Field (production still), 2012, Courtesy of the artist / Inova.

Alix Pearlstein, Moves in the Field (production still), 2012, Courtesy of the artist / Inova.

Who are these people? That may be a lingering question after seeing the current exhibition at Inova, Enacting Acting. Three artists present seven video and mixed media works, each with a distinct sense of tension at their core. The sources of tension vary, from the self-absorbed varieties of panic explored by Robert Arndt to the conscious, conscientious movements and glances of figures sliding through Alix Pearlstein’s pieces, to the probing questions and dialogue of Vishal Jugdeo.

The artists have produced pieces using actors, whom we see onscreen, employing the conventions of theatrical presentation but  stripped of what we’d normally expect to see, some narrative context. Each vignette lands us in a place where we might not be sure of motivations, and all that’s left is the actions and reactions of the actors. As described by Inova director Sarah Krajewski, “an actor relies on a craft that, when executed skillfully and successfully, disappears from our conscious perception.” The exhibition relies on the fact that we are highly conditioned to believe what we see on screen, to buy into the reality of the actor’s art which itself is a concoction of fantasy. These works play with our expectations: rather than seeing a film where we absorb a story and identify with the characters before us, we’re instead left to fixate on raw scraps of reaction. The gaping holes of storyline are there to be filled in, but that component is ancillary to the faces and gestures onscreen.

A few blocks away at Green Gallery, Gavin Brown is showing an untitled video installation with  similarly oblique tactics. The walls are white and the plate glass windows are boarded up to create an austere surface. The architecture of the gallery is nowhere near a cube, which works to the benefit of this piece. One projection beams steadily on a wall while another projection circles the room, each capturing the changing scene of the modest interior of a home. The most notable components of this piece are not necessarily the visuals but the sounds — blaring, growling, mechanical tones and piercing, siren-like shrill pulses enter and leave, as do the occasionally subdued rhythms and low-key whispering voices. If you are not into experimental sounds it might be very demanding at times, but that is part of the point, unnerving sharpness juxtaposed against hushed domestic views. The soundtrack is what you could imagine if the refrigerator noise, hum of HVAC, or electric pulses in the walls were magnified to sonic dissonance. Then, without warning, a female voice, sobbing and mournful, at times intelligible, is heard at the end of the piece. Questions arise. Have we been inside this woman’s head all along?

Brown also presents a picture of Bob Marley, performing before a microphone and guitar in hand, superimposed by a linear print of Christ carrying the cross. Burdens and veneration come to mind. The absence of artist statement and gallery notes easily leave it up to you, dear reader, to draw the conclusions based on your own points of reference. But considering the combination of video pieces at Inova and Green Gallery, the propensity to take what we see in moving pictures, absorb ourselves in fiction, reveals a tendency to seek truth and meaning in all manner of staged theatrics.

Both The Green Gallery (1500 N. Farwell Ave.) and inova (2155 N. Prospect Ave.) have limited hours during Gallery Night And Day. Inova’s hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 12 to 5pm, with extended hours on Thursdays until 8pm. Green Gallery is open Thursdays from 4 to 8pm, Friday through Sunday from 2 to 6pm.

 

This Weekend: Gallery Night And Day Highlights:

Pfister Artist in Residence Finalists

Vote for your favorite to win the role of Pfister Artist in Residence for 2014.

Vote for your favorite to win the role of Pfister Artist in Residence for 2014.

 

One of the major events taking place during this weekend’s Gallery Night is the display of work by the six finalists for the next Pfister Artist in Residence. Work by Richard Dorbin, Niki Johnson, Brandon Minga, Dena Nord, Jeff Redmond, and Stacey Williams-Ng will be on view at Gallerie M in the InterContential Hotel, and viewers will be able to vote for their choice of artist through the Pfister Hotel Facebook page. The winner will receive a one-year residency at the Pfister Hotel, succeeding the current Pfister AiR, Stephanie Barenz. The exhibition is open Friday from 5 to 9pm and Saturday throughout the day. Voting for the winner continues through February 14.

As is the tradition with each Gallery Night there are plenty of openings of interest around town. The full list of participants can be found on the Historic Third Ward website but here are some highlights:

 

DOWNTOWN

 

Oil Paintings by Ernesto Gutierrez

David Barnett Gallery

1024 E. State Street.

Friday 5 to 9pm, Saturday 11am to 5pm

The exhibition features intense paintings by Gutierrez who is described as the best Peruvian artist living today.

 

Bare Walls

DeLind Gallery of Fine Art

450 E. Mason Street

Friday 5:30 to 8:30pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm

The nude figure is the connecting subject in works by Wisconsin artists as well as internationally recognized painters and sculptors.

 

Sonja Thomsen: Glowing Wavelengths In Between

Sonja Thomsen will be showing her exhibition “Glowing Wavelengths In Between” at Dean Jensen Gallery. Image courtesy Dean Jensen Gallery.

Sonja Thomsen will be showing her exhibition “Glowing Wavelengths In Between” at Dean Jensen Gallery. Image courtesy Dean Jensen Gallery.

Dean Jensen Gallery

759 N. Water Street

Friday 6 to 9pm, Saturday

Photography and installations are on view by Milwaukee-based artist Sonja Thomsen.

 

Transitions in Perspective: Myth and Mirror

RedLine Milwaukee

1422 N. 4th Street

Friday 6 to 9pm, Saturday 10am to 3pm

 

THIRD WARD

 

Jeremy Popelka: Veiled Monuments

Rodger Bechtold: The Nature of Things

Ben Grant: I’ve Gotten on With it a Little all the Same

Tory Folliard Gallery

233 N. Milwaukee Street

Friday 11am to 9pm, Saturday 11am to 4pm

 

The Marshall Building (207 E. Buffalo Street) is a perennial Gallery Night favorite with multiple floors of galleries and events.

Safi Studios

Marshall Building, Lower Level

Friday 5 to 9pm, Saturday 12 to 4pm

Group exhibition featuring painting, sculpture, installation, and music.

 

Six Women: Allison B. Cooke, Rebecca Crowell, Kay Knight, Paula Schulze, Stacey Steinberg, and Jean White

Elaine Erickson Gallery

Marshall Building, First Floor

Friday, 5 to 9pm, Saturday reception 1 to 3pm

 

Focus on Fiber

Katie Gingrass Gallery

Marshall Building, First Floor

Friday, 6 to 9pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm

 

Population: Robin Luther

Greymatter Gallery

Marshall Building, Second Floor

Friday 5 to 9pm, Saturday 12 to 4pm

Photography by Vivian Maier will be on view in "Certificates of Presence." Photo courtesy Portrait Society Gallery.

Photography by Vivian Maier will be on view in “Certificates of Presence.” Photo courtesy Portrait Society Gallery.

 

Certificates of Presence: Vivian Maier, Livija Patikne, J. Lindemann

Winter Chapel by Ashley Morgan

Portrait Society Gallery

Marshall Building, Fifth Floor

Friday 6 to 9pm, Saturday noon to 5pm

 

WALKER’S POINT

 

CoPA’s 7th Annual Midwest Juried Photo Exhibition

Featured Member Exhibition: Paul Matzner

Walker’s Point Center for the Arts

839 S. 5th Street

Friday 5 to 9pm, Saturday 12 to 5pm
Inova’s hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 12 to 5pm, with extended hours on Thursdays until 8pm. Green Gallery is open Thursdays from 4 to 8pm, Friday through Sunday from 2 to 6pm.

0 thoughts on “Visual Art: Truth and Fiction”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for these Gallery Night suggestions. I went to three places on your list, plus a lecture on Winston, a photographer who had images of the old steam trains at the Grohmann Museum, which was also excellent and inspiring! Later the curator of Grohmann himself (who’d also done the lecture)walked around the exhibit answering questions, and I was able to speak to him directly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Kat!

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