4030 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94609
“Is anyone there?”
People call out over the wide empty spaces, endlessly unanswered.
“Is anyone there?”
Echoed through this montage of borrowed clips, the characters in Sasha Krieger’s Soliloquy (all works 2011) are all seeking, asking—
Krieger’s lonely hollers encapsulate the motif of First-Person Plural, currently on view at MacArthur B Arthur in Oakland. Including work by three emerging Bay area artists, the exhibition places a dozen or so objects in a call-and-response conversation that bounce against the white walls and reverberate through the smallish space. The simple geometries of Joel Dean’s set of slash-marked canvases 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 reverberate in the enticing shapes of Dana Hemenway’s Corner-bend (triangles) made up of colors cast on the wall with an overhead projector. Hemenway’s Untitled (ceilings) riffs on repetition by echoing and disrupting the architecture of the space, angling our gaze back up the walls, where Krieger’s large projection continues its calling.
Installation shot of First-Person Plural at MacArthur B Arthur, Oakland, CA
First-Person Plural is MacArthur B Arthur’s first show after a few months’ hiatus, and the first one I’ve seen in this living space-cum-gallery, which is collaboratively managed by Kevin Clarke, Alison Offill-Klein, Aaron Harbour and Jackie Im. Beginning with a handful of works on the table—two each from Dean and Hemenway, and one from Krieger—the curators Im and Harbour then commissioned the artists to respond to one another. What emerged is a delicately balanced show where the premise remains submerged while the repetitions and responses present in the works create a round-robin that enlivens the space. Though created on the premise of interaction, the correlations between the works do not overpower their individual charms; rather, like unmatched objects in a well-styled living room, the works simply go.
First-Person Plural is an open-ended conversation. There is no way to tell which pieces began the conversation, nor is there a resolution or a resting place in the flow of images, angles, and shapes. The beauty of the idea, and of the installation, lies in the fact that these objects—like the characters in Krieger’s film—call out from the walls. They may be speaking to each other, or they may be speaking only to the void, but in any case, they refuse the expectation to remain silent, and still.
Top Image: Still from Sasha Krieger's Soliloquy, 2011. Courtesy the artist.