Judith Ann Moriarty

Time Arts Continuum at Walker’s Point

Why yes, we do inhabit a crazy modern world.

By - May 19th, 2012 08:10 pm
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Sam Blanchard’s “a little off the top.” Photo courtesy of WPCA.

Five hours before the Friday, May 18, opening of Time Arts Continuum, I’m sitting in the east-facing bay window overlooking 5th St., in the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts. The street bustles with folks rushing in and out of nearby eateries. From where I sit, on an elevated platform curtained in black, I’m able to chat with Dean Valadez, a 37-year-old UW-Milwaukee teacher of visual arts. Valadez is putting the finishing touches on his installation on the south wall of the front gallery.

Valadez received his Master of Fine Arts from Boston University. He tells me that his installation (“I Wish I Were Here, II”) is a bit like Aesop’s “Fox and the Grapes” fable. A blast of philosophy ginned-up with fun fizz, the work spills onto the floor and literally climbs the walls. Depending on the baggage you bring to the viewing, it could be read as raw and dangerous or life lived in the moment, or both. Let’s just say it resembles a wrestling match with the gods.

“I imagine myself as a collector of culture artifacts,” he says, adding that he gathers much of the colorful imagery from You Tube. In other words, he’s an appropriator who collects and organizes. Valadez’s mind (nurtured in part by early stories from the Brothers Grimm), leads us into conversations ranging from Plato to Facebook and beyond. Earlier in the day, I watched with millions of others as the book of faces unveiled the much ballyhooed Facebook IPO, which rocketed Bono to the billionaire class and left the rest of us wandering in time, worrying about our phone bills.

The world moves faster, ever faster. On the gallery’s west wall, Sam Blanchard’s “a little off the top,” attempts to slow the pace by projecting a face (his?) onto a cast iron barber’s chair rising high into what the artist describes as normal, or near-normal atmosphere. Monumental in concept, it’s perfect, and perfectly funny, as the guy in the chair actually can’t afford to lose more than a little off the top. It’s Everyman’s worry, and come to think of it, it may also be billionaire Bono’s worry.

A trio of turquoise “ears” mounted on the wall, by Jessica Teckemeyer, an Iowa-based artist, demands that we listen with ours to the faintest of sounds. My old ears aren’t the best listeners these days, but I did manage to tune in to all three. Is that a babbling brook?

A brook almost babbling? A brook waiting to babble? I was informed that Teckemeyer does not identify the sounds, and decided that is a wise move as we hear mostly with our hearts, and as time moves forward, what we think we’ve heard becomes lost in the shuffle of so many sounds.

There are seven artists in this excellent offering. To my mind, their efforts are far more exciting than the silliness surrounding Facebook’s (mostly disappointing, or so says my computer) IPO. Just so you know, I didn’t buy any shares, but I urge you to share this exhibition, now until June 30. Before I exited, I saw a note that announced naming rights to one of the gallery spaces is available for $25,000.

Time Arts Continuum Artist Roster:  Sam Blanchard (MI, video installation); Jeff Herriott (WI, video); Lynn Lukkas (MN, video installation); Eric Sheffield & Anna Weisling (WI, video); Jessica Teckemeyer (IA, sound installation); Dean Valadez (WI, video & installation).

The show runs through June 30 at the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, 839 S. 5th St.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: A/C Feature 3, Art

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