Local art display provokes thought

Crowds bustle about, seeking the source of the sounds that hit them while walking through the doors of the Arts Center of the Capital Region. That would be Sabrina Gschwandtner’s piece that explores behavior of a string when in contact with the internal light and fan of a slide projector. Gschwandtner, one artist featured in the group show entitled “ODDLY alive,” displays work that is just that—a portrayal of life in unique, anomalous ways.

Each piece featured in the gallery differentiates from the others, with a certain aesthetic spin on the creation of life from inanimate objects. Each viewer will have a unique interpretation of the many representations of existence on display, providing inspiration to the pondering individual on a late afternoon stroll or on a mission for food for thought.

One such approach that fellow artists Vin Voisey and Mayumi Ishino took was to animate material objects. Voisey’s vivacious Power Animal is suspended by strings, almost like a marionette, and spills an earful of aphorisms to listeners standing by. Ishino’s work entails a live performance in the making of her admirable Mirrors.

“Mirrors is a performance piece that speaks. It needs to be seen and interpreted during the performance for the audience,” says Ishino of her work.

Ishino uses colored markers to draw her self-portrait onto a mirror; she then shatters the image, creating three to five pieces in one showing. In a statement on her website, she says that, “shattering is not about rejection but rather it is a gesture of detachment from the self-image as well as from the idea of capturing the reflected environment.”

The concept behind the creation of each mirror is the same, but each image is different. Whether the variance is in the emotional expression represented or the smashed patterns of fragmented glass, there is not one single theme, and evidently not one single inspiration.

In this respect, Ishino likes to think of her work as existential. As a live performance, her work is very in the moment. Once the mirror is shattered, there is no fixing the final product, just what has been done is done, and she accepts each piece as one moment in a series, one moment in life.

Graham Caldwell, another artist showcased in “ODDLY alive,” experiments with the physical aspects of life. Caldwell displays sculptures that represent human features like mouths. One such piece, entitled Twenty Two Teeth, was made of brown glass and steel to create a menacing mouth that jumps off the wall at the onlooker. Another of his pieces, The Auger, is a combination of brown, red, and orange glass that resembles the twisted configuration of veins. The delicacy of the hand-blown glass resting on the steel resembles the graceful complexity of the body’s internal structures.

Other artists at the exhibit focused more on nature. Marianne Fourie presents an oscillating photomontage to creatively depict life in the passage of time, not just the eclectic capture of moments. Sculptures emblematic of ecosystems and sea life are the work of Rachel Abrams. The essence of the vision in her pieces stems from exploration into the many concentrations of biology. Sky Kim’s array of circles and curves, both in black and white and multicolor, represent the biological basics of life such as skin texture, cells and tissues.

“ODDLY alive” opened January 29 in the Main and President’s Galleries of the Arts Center and will run through March 19.