Friday, July 12, 2013

“ Change ” installation by Chris Lindsay reviewed by Jillian Player

Spare, elegant, and intriguing are some of the first impressions that come to mind as one enters Deluge’s bright, clean environment. Chris Lindsay’s site-specific installation hangs over your head, precariously monopolizing most of the room. Evenly spaced and obsessively  executed strands of airplane wire attach to three horizontal wooden beams at one end of the ceiling, and curve gently towards the floor, hanging menacingly just above, before they swoop towards their perch at the other end of the ceiling, where the wires attach to a large, wooden-crossed beam that resembles a telephone pole. The vertical beam is purposely left rough and untouched, since its shedding of bark. It rests on a slight angle with its bottom end tilting off the ground and a tiny piece of wood jammed into the space. Heavy cables hold the upper end of the beam in place, or the whole body would tumble into a sad heap. The sense of gravity in the room is palpable. One can almost smell it. Am I getting a lesson in physics here? As one moves from piece to piece, one never leaves the pressure of the overhead structure.This precarious feeling flows through all of Lindsay’s enigmatic objects in the exhibit.

There is a criss-cross, or spirograph-like pattern that continuously changes as one moves through the room, looking up through the three layers of wire. The same patterns play out in a smaller scale through a row of coloured squares on the floor. From a distance they look like flat plates of coloured glass. But, when observed closely, you see the threaded patterns emerge. Optical illusions of colour, string, and metal: one is mesmerized as one walks around, over and between them. Like a contemporary dance to silent music, observers bend from the waist, bobbing their heads back and forth, and up and down to achieve the full potential of the plates.

Movement continues to a kinetic sculpture of nails, wood, and metal. All resist static quality as the structure gently rocks, swings, and shimmers. All seem perpetually conflicted, yet there is a delicate balance of art and science.

Science finds its way into the exhibit by way of an old slide projector showing two slides, both from the University of Victoria’s Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEHM), the world’s highest-resolution microscope. The projection sits quietly unobtrusive and adjacent to one corner of the room.

There is one piece of sculpture from Chris’s grad show: the keys of two pianos, manipulated to create a grid. It is the most painterly piece in the exhibit as it could easily hang as a piece of art on a wall.  There is a beauty here that suggests entropy. The romantic old stories of fingers caressing the keys of these vintage pianos seem a little out of place with the overall exhibit, yet the missing piano strings are a reminder of the pattern of vibration.

Discrete elements meeting in mutually supportive combinations seem to be the inspiration that drives Lindsay to create ambiguous sculpture. He talks about the fragility of the planet and how we have gone too far with our obsession with destroying our resources. Yet, I find relief in humanity as I watch people getting amusement from these simple methods of illusion in his creations.

Curiosity is what kept Lindsay going as a microbiologist, and it is this same curiosity that propelled him through art school, having completed his MFA two months ago. His work is already in demand—he was asked to exhibit at The Nanaimo Art Gallery in August of this year. It seems Chris Lindsay’s never ending curiosity will be his driving force, and we are so lucky he has chosen art to share his observations.

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Chris Lindsay
June 28 - July 27
Deluge Contemporary Art
636 Yates St, Victoria
Jillian Player is a visual artist that likes to write art reviews . -

1 comment:

  1. Efren, thank you for creating and maintaining an absolutely superb calendar and commentary for the Victoria fine arts - my hat's off to you - well done!
    Jillian, thanks for an interesting and incisive review... hope these continue.
    John Harris