Friday, February 7, 2014

Tape, Transparency & Translucency

Impending Spring is a new show by Kayt Hester in a new space, the Wix Lounge.

I’m not one hundred percent sure about the space is exactly, except that it was spacious, airy and uncluttered and located over there by Chelsea Way, Wix Lounge (235 W 23rd St, 8th Floor) . 

The Wix lounge, which by all accounts may be open to the public and free to use, a kind of Starbucks without the coffee and is hosted by the Wix, an internet-services company.
Essentially the I didn’t get all the details, about the space. in  The opening featured wine and oysters and seemed well attended.

The way Kayt turned the space into a gallery show was that she was using Wix (a web-service provider that also hosts the Wix Lounge space) for her snazzy new website and while solving a technical issue with tech-support and her work got noticed and the powers that be decided a Hester exhibit would be a compelling fit for the art gallery potential of the lounge, a kind of an open source office (the concept apparently was first conceived in California).

I shouldn’t give into a snarky tone, It is a beautiful space, enhanced the art display, and was well-lit and comfortable to spend time in.

Impending Spring is the title of the exhibit, an expression of mid-winter hope. Hester often draws inspiration from the seasonal changes  (her recentJersey City show celebrated Summer) of the natural world. She doesn’t like the cold and snow and ice, preferring the warmer times of year, thus the title. She can’t wait for Spring even though wait we all must.

While the walls feature some classic Hester depictions – masking tape on canvas – what makes this show unique are images exclusive to the Wix Lounge show that decorate wall to ceiling windows enclosing the inner-board room located mid-lounge, a white-collar terrarium.

Not the first time working for Hester making most of glass as the background. Both the properties of the innate transparency of glass and how the glass is  positioned in terms of available light are utilized in the work. In fact, it’s wrong to consider it a background, a mere canvas. The glass itself was as much of part of the Hester medium as the masking tape.

Images of a caribou (this may or may not have something to do with the post-punk  band, The Pixies), stark telephone poles, connecting cables, a woman’s pensive gaze, a bunny, an owl whose claws clutch an umbrella (I find umbrellas objects of beauty, says Hester).



Always a marvel how she can express so much tape meticulously cut into tiny pieces , but aside from that adhesive material, the equally amazing aspect is how she expressed so much with so little, a dash, a roundness, a slash and an image is realize complete with suggested movement and feeling. The awareness of what is not said seems at the root of her image making.

I love the caribou’s open jaw, a call of the wild or how the owl seems to rise in flight, wings spread – the umbrella some amusing accidental clash between nature and civilization – spring comes no matter how advanced our technology or populated our cities.

When standing within the glass-enclosed board room and looking out, the images are like auroras, They become shadows , but not casted on the wall by light, but existing between the light and the wall.

By balancing  positive and negative space, that is, black tape eliminating portions of what is transparent to creating something new, Hester has conjured an illusion of translucency. The result is a kind of 3-D – or maybe 4-D – montage of images making viewers not just see what appears to be a projection, but actually feel like they are inside the projection, part of it.

We live in an era of art where exhibitions occur in spaces that were not typically galleries. Interiors are being repurposed so rampantly that now almost anywhere can serve as a showcase.

Visual Art utilizes shadows, light and space to convey ideas and emotions.  Impending Spring is not just art in a new space, but Hester makes that space part of the art. It both contains and becomes her vision.

To experience the illusion of translucency, , when visiting Impending Spring, go inside the glass room and look out.


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