East Austin Arts and Fusebox Festival recently opened Asterisk at Big Medium’s Canopy location. Realizing the value of consolidation, the show brings together five separate galleries into one dynamic exhibition. Participating artists include Kyle Evans representing Co-Lab Projects with his mixed visual and sonic piece Transmission Archeology, Big Medium’s Frederick Follmer and his nature inspired installation, Jessica Matthews from pump project exhibiting her sculpture Water, 1 Pixel: 624 frames, Aaron Meyers from Tiny Park displaying three separate, but materially related sculptures, and multiple other artists from MASS Gallery contributing a variety of mixed media works confined to the dimensions of 12 x 12 inches.
While this may sound highly disparate, the artworks form a unique dialogue, owed to the overall curation, and the intimate space of the gallery. On the left wall nearest the door is Evans’s work: a complicated wiring of partially deconstructed T.V. sets that appear to mostly be from the 1970s and early 1980s. Each T.V. is on, tuned to that snow storm found between stations, emitting a variety of hums and statics. Synced together, they form an odd melody that is just as hypnotic as what their screen’s display. Next to this are the MASS artists. While some works hang on the wall from single tacks, others are arranged alphabetically in two adjacent bins. Just like digging through LP’s at a music store, the gallery viewer gets the pleasure of rifling through the works, never sure what he or she will find next. As I experienced firsthand, this creates a great conversation starter with the person next to you who is subsequently doing the same thing.
On the other side of the gallery are Matthews’s and Follmer’s works. In stark difference to the electronic apparatuses and sonic practices of the other side of the room, their works evoke a sensation of meditation, and quiet nature. The deep blue of the panels comprising Matthews’s work can be reminiscent of the sky; and the subtle movement of leaves and grass accompanied by the occasional sound of a bird chirping found in Follmer’s work, the meadow below. Whereas on the other of the gallery I was starting conversations and toe tapping with my neighbor, on this side, people seemed to keep their distance from each other and their words to themselves. Albeit, this side of the room is slightly overshadowed by the other (it’s hard to not find yourself nodding you head in rhythm to the T.V.s music), and I was left wondering if that would have occurred if the exhibition space was slightly larger.
Meyers’s works serve as the unifier. Neither completely natural, as they are built from industrial materials, nor completely industrial, as they appear worn, broken, and in ruin, as if falling back to nature, the works visualize a bridge between the “technological” side and the “natural” side of the exhibition. In this way, they are highly essential, yet completely lost in the space. Maybe it has more to do with the fact that their colors match the gallery, or that the works are reminiscent of the overall re-development the Canopy space is undergoing (discernable when walking around the property). Either way, they are the silent, yet required, participants of the exhibition. Without them, the subtle unity of the show would dissolve.
It can’t be easy to manage the arrangement of such distinct work into one space, but the curators pull it off, giving the viewer just the right amount of diversity and unity, play and meditation. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Big Medium’s Canopy gallery is located at 916 Springdale Road, Austin, Texas 78702
Posted 28th April 2014 by Arnold, H.C.