Sight Specific: Explorations in Space, Vision and Sound
Eleven South Florida artists were invited by Freddy Jouwayed, the Museum of Art’s Chief Exhibition Designer, to create installations within the confines of specified areas of the second floor galleries. Many of the works in Sight Specific were created on the spot and others were adapted from previous installations and expanded upon. All are fresh reactions to the Museum’s wonderful Edward Larrabee Barnes-designed modernist structure, itself a sculptural achievement, and to the very public forum it and our visitors provide. Unusual for a special exhibition, we are encouraging our visitors to respond to these installations by photographing them, commenting on Facebook and Twitter, and accessing the artists’ individual websites to learn more about their working methods. We encourage those who view them to speak their mind; free to like or dislike, encourage or condemn. In responding, they are expanding the forum by continuing the conversation about the arts in our community and within our larger society.
For Sight Specific, we abandoned our normal operating procedures in favor of immediacy and the attempt to arrive at something new. True to its title; the exhibition’s nine installations focus on various stimuli, including sounds, spaces and views. The following information indentifies the artists and their individual projects.
The artists engaged in Sight Specific come from various disciplines and deliver distinctly differing results. Clifton Childree deals with the theatrical as he confronts visitors with composer and pianist Alexander Scriabin's living room, a space that acts as the set for Childree's film celebrating Scriabin's final, unfinished musical composition, Mysterium. Engaging your auditory nerve is the aim of Stairway by Gustavo Matamoros. If you stop to linger, close attention will reveal Matamoros' ethereal sound composition to be in close harmony with the Museum building’s resonant acoustics, causing one to wonder whether the structure is instrument or sanctuary.
Wendy Wischer creates layers of the real and the reflected to reference the interconnections of the natural world and the power of light to highlight and to obscure. Kyle Trowbridge, on the other hand, sees his installation as an opportunity to offer a phrase for contemplation. Any attempt to draw a conclusion is an effort that is left solely to the viewer.
Juan Maristany, who makes fruitful forays between the VJ world and the gallery, takes his penchant for editing jarringly surreal digital artifacts to create a vibrant video composition that is projected - in this case - onto a multifaceted wall structure. His attempts at communication straddle the line between inferences that are pragmatic, and at times political, to jubilant gestural bursts of geometry and color. The idea of artifact is approached differently in the hanging sculptures by Gavin Perry that are at once colorful and beautiful but at the same time, menacing as you view their sharp surfaces and ominous shadows from below.
BREAKFAST, a collaboration between artists Bhakti Baxter and Jay Hines, toys with objects found or gathered during the pair's daily wonderings, and constructs them into an inventive dialogue. Process itself is the intention; the outcome is merely a record of decisions made during it. In stark contrast is the elegant installation created by husband-and-wife team Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, whose formal space is made more inviting with the addition of vivid colors and cushioned seating (which is meant to be used). The space's darkly comical counterpoints include a "poetical" map of the world and a record player that you are encouraged to treat like a jukebox.
Finally, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova offers materials that are ordinary and ubiquitous, yet the fragmented and unfinished remnants question the permanence of our existence and our powers of perception. Perhaps what we think of as barriers may not stop us; the things that ground us may be fleeting. A door may be an exit or perhaps it's only a piece of wood.
These are thoughts that visitors are welcomed to borrow. The exhibition's aim is to encourage viewers to think and respond. If they feel so moved, they are encouraged to leave their thoughts behind in the exhibition's guestbook before they cross back to the world outside.