Monday, July 20, 2009

Artpace International Artist-In-Residence 09.2

(Full disclosure: I was an intern at Artpace for the duration of this residence.)

Silke Otto-Knapp presents a series of relief and intaglio etchings in metallic inks based on dance. The images in this series are presented in such a way that close investigation of the print surface is necessary to extract the sketchy figures from their surrounding iridescence. I can appreciate the formal subtlety of this collection, but it fails to engage me outside of its simplicity and graphic presence.

Silke Otto-Knapp
The full moon this fall, All night long I have paced around the pond, 2009

Originally commissioned and produced at Artpace San Antonio

Charlie Morris confronts all things political with an adroit sensitivity and subtlety. Morris’s ability to address such a horrible subject as politics is commendable, even more so is his ability to do it successfully with a selection of pieces so perilously simple. A testament to military power and failure is reduced to a chalk-white pallet of commodities. An investigation into the manufacture and release of a lethal biological substance is pared down to a series of photos and a tenebrous video documenting the project. An exercise in censorship is literally carved out of an edition of the Marquis de Sade’s infamous Juliette. With this act, an incendiary record of the most obscene fantasies is abated to a hollowed out collection of impotent pages. This structure creates a confined space where you, the viewer, could explore the darkest depths of your perversions—fill in the blanks. What I find most interesting about this group of works is the connection I found between the disparate parts. The Marquis de Sade book was published at the height of the French political instability of the 18th century. De Sade, a revolutionary, wrote his smut with fierce political undertones, damning the ruling class by drawing allusion to their social debauchery through the sexual debauchery of his characters, for which he was imprisoned on multiple occasions. At that time, the story of the Death of Socrates (told in Plato’s Phaedo, in which Socrates willfully drinks hemlock to act as his own executioner to fulfill his death sentence for corrupting the youth of Athens and heresy to the gods) was a very popular subject for artists and revolutionaries alike. Needless to say the French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror left the nation fractured and in a turmoil of heightened suspicion of military action.

Charlie Morris
Half to Whole, 2009
Originally commissioned and produced at Artpace San Antonio

Anne Collier presents the most engaging work of the exhibition. Collier presents a selection of images culled from the film Eyes of Laura Mars. Through these images, the viewer is presented with a close-up of just that: the eyes of Laura Mars. No nostalgia here. All connotations of reveling in a comfortable past are stripped away as the immediacy of the experience creates a liminal space where only your senses and your psyche exist. There is something unnerving about being stared at; you can’t look away. The dark room, with nothing but a carousel projector and a projection only adds to the tension. Alone in the space, you are deprived of all sensory input except that of the cold stare of the subject. Granted these stunning, pruned images have a warm, inviting glow, but it is the situation that creates a lasting sensation. No sound but that of the rotating carousel amplifies the tedium as it tolls out its familiar mechanical report in measured time. Being presented with so little, but facing so much, peaks one’s self-consciousness and anxiety. It makes you uncomfortable, and it lingers.

Anne Collier
Woman With A Camera (35mm), 2009

Originally commissioned and produced at Artpace San Antonio

all photos courtesy of Artpace


  1. Wow, great reviews. Wish I were there to see the exhibits.

  2. Full disclosure: U R expectedly compelling. Keep up the the good work.

  3. Chad, You are a strong writer and I like the work- mostly for your boldness to say what you think and describe what you feel.