Sunday, August 29, 2010

Exhibiting Artist : Sarah Rose Allen

Sarah Rose Allen's interest in poetic and visceral moments held within mundane acts is evident in her video installation, cup. The work animates bubbles in the simple gesture of pouring.

Studio glass is not unfamiliar with the inclusion of bubbles in glass. In fact, it is an integral part / concern to the medium's vocabulary. While many artists take extraordinary pains to avoid and remove bubbles that may be seen as aesthetically problematic, others make works out of placing bubbles intentionally within glass to create specific optical and formal effects. Either way, the dynamism of introducing bubbles and the movement of air during their creation is lost when the phenomena is frozen into the glass object.

Allen's video focusses on precisely those moments by keeping the constant creation and disappearance of bubbles alive. By a clever strategy, the cup is always only half-full, never overflowing, causing the act to never have to end. The video projection is installed in the darkened space of a closet, sometimes an alcove or corridor end, always an incidental space where the encounter of the virtual object and its phenomenon is a discovery.

The relationship between glass and video is of an interesting nature: Glass is a good memory-keeper of marks that were left behind, of ephemeral moments. But since it records time in invisible ways, it shows no memory of the act itself. Digital video on the other hand, is an excellent and accessible medium for capturing those moments, the details that are lost to a static entity of sculpture.

From the works of post-glass artists, it seems that the study of fundamental processes and appreciation for vision is leading to the use of video because it picks up where the self-contained object fails. Keeping its integrity of attending to a mundane, ephemeral moment that we encounter frequently, cup uses the ability of video to capture an overlooked gesture in the most transparent way possible : a clear medium in a clear object with neither in physical form.

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