“Material Evidence: A Phenomenology of Matter” includes nationally recognized artists Jim Campbell, Sukjin Choi, Allan DeSouza, Jane Lackey, Erwin Redl, Dario Robleto, Darren Waterston, and Anne Wilson.
We all look to art for many different pleasures, but one of the great joys for me is when works of art change the way I see the world. That’s what these eight artists do. Spanning a range of media from painting, video, photography, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, and time-based installations activated by computers, the boundaries between disciplines become blurred in this exhibition and within a single work. For example, Anne Wilson’s Errant Behaviors stop-motion animation of black lace fragments and pins on a massive white table embodies the histories of sculpture, fiber, video and sound art. Yet none of that is as significant as our own experience with pins, now seen on a massive scale, and how it engages us as we consider why she has chosen it as a material for art production. The last two decades have seen an explosion of artists subverting the tradition of “proper” art materials, transforming the ordinary into something new. The computer has made possible a new field of art with the now quotidian and microscopic zeros and ones. Two pioneers of that field, Jim Campbell and Erwin Redl, demonstrate through their work that much of our perception of art and the world is now changed because we must consider dimensions, narratives, and materials not possible before. In Jim Campbell’s Photo of My Mother, 1996 and Portrait of My Father, 1994-1995, the computer allows photos of his mother and father to be obscured and revealed to the speed of his own breath and heartbeat.
While the work in the exhibition is complex and about much that is ephemeral, if viewers trust their own experience with physical material, they will open themselves to an appreciation of art that values their own history as much as their knowledge of art history. The work in this exhibition challenges us to consider the history of images and our engagement with physical matter as equals. The richest meaning is found in our discovery of the invisible through the familiar, seeking a consciousness that extends beyond the brain, with all our sensory antennae at work in the world.