Friday night saw the opening of three exhibitions at Art League Houston: "Suspended Memory" by
Shane Allbritton & Peter Bernick-Allbritton in the Main Gallery; "Speak of the Devil" by Edward Kelly in the Front Gallery; and "Thingness" by Benjamin Terry in the Hallway Space. Full disclosure, I did not take pictures of or spend a great deal of time looking at "Thingness", and will therefore not be writing about it here. Hallways and gallery openings are busy places by nature, so combine the two and it doesn't allow for much reflection or indeed photo opps - sorry Art League!
Kelley's "Speak of the Devil" is one of the coolest installation pieces I have seen at Art League since I moved to Houston. Being from England (the most watched country in the world, by the way), this piece spoke to me as a clever and timely comment on the voyeuristic nature of modern society, and the slow but complete normalization of this constant invasion of our privacy.
This interactive exhibition features over 250 surveillance cameras installed in clusters throughout Art League's Front Gallery. Some of the cameras are motion activated, so you really get the sense that the installation is watching you with its beady blinking red eyes as you move about the space. As if that's not enough, the cameras actually photograph viewers and send these grainy surveillance-style images to a printer in the centre of the space, where viewers are invited to either feed their image into a shredder, or pin it to the gallery wall where it will become part of the exhibition.
“Systematic surveillance has become such a routine and inescapable part of our everyday culture, that we have become accustomed to its presence” says the artist. “The exhibition playfully highlights this growing presence through an immersive installation that explores the complexity and variability of our own understanding and engagement regarding surveillance technology, while also highlighting the ethical issues relating to personal privacy”.
"Speak of the Devil" will be at Art League until July 22, 2017 - Providing you're not on the run and avoiding surveillance cameras I highly recommend stopping by!
Next up: "Suspended Memory" by Shane Allbritton & Peter Bernick-Allbritton in the Main Gallery. If you have been following Artful Dodgy for a while, you will know I already think that Shane and Peter are a creative power-couple, so it came as no surprise to me that "Suspended Memory" is another must-see showcase of their work.
The exhibition features installations which explore memory, and the process of how memories are stored and retrieved in the brain. The artists' use of fragments of patterns, textures and colors repeated across various surfaces is intended to represent the process of recollection, specifically reflecting the complexities of "lost memories" and the way they are accessed and reinterpreted in our minds.
A personal highlight for me were the "Working Memory Cards", pictured above. The 32"x20" pieces are comprised of laser cut mulberry paper suspended in a colored water reservoir. At first glance these pieces are obviously beautiful, but examined in the context of the exhibition as a whole they are truly stunning, complex and thought provoking. The pieces will continue to evolve as the paper absorbs and distorts the ink, mirroring the way memories and imprinted and changed over time - super cool right?
“The fact that recalling our memories changes them means that they are relatively unstable” says artist Shane Allbritton. “This phenomenon is referenced through imagined, neurological patterns cut into fragile materials and soaked in water, reflecting a robust record-keeping capacity that is also elusive and delicate. Given that our concept of the past is fallible, each passing moment renewed, and forgotten experiences buried, our transient reality remains suspended in time.”
"Suspended Memory" will be at Art League until July 22, 2017 - definitely worth setting aside 30 minutes to contemplate how incredible the human memory can be!
British-born arts blogger living in Houston, Tx. A mixture of Street Art, Fine Art, Installation, and anything weird and wonderful. Follow me if that sounds like your cup of tea.