Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Swimming Pool was a splash-

I went to the SPPS GroupSOLO opening on Saturday night, and I had a blast. Granted, because of this cold/flu thing I have I couldn't stay for the whole show (Nyquil and Grolsch are fun together?) - the 2 hours I was there sold me in coming back for their next opening.

I arrived during Tom Long's exhibit, to watch Aza Quinn-Brauner and Daniel Baird putting together podiums for the next installation. Liz Nielson (the owner of the space) was around to greet guests and explain her concept: by showing the installations before the show, it would allow the attendee to view the more mundane and ordinary aspects of a gallery exhibition. The idea that the show is in progress also makes the viewer question if they should be at the gallery at that time- should they come back when installation is done? It's a play on the idea of how we view art in the museum setting- all pristine and perfect, ready for the viewer. Seeing the installation take place created this relaxed environment, and I admit, I couldn't wait to see the next artist- there was a "build-up" of anticipation.

Tom Long's art piece was fantasic- his use of patterns, empty space, and intricate detail made me feel like I could look at it for hours and not take in everything. Diego Leclery was next, with a video installation. Three small TVs played video of him insulting the viewer, or himself. I had a detailed conversation with the last artist Jeffrey Grauel deconstructing the video installation. Grauel noted the computer monitor light, and how the video looks like it could be a youtube video. Leclery's insults focused on being "crazy" or a "baby"- and it made me wonder if his art piece was commentary on the comments people leave on the internet/youtube videos. From there, Grauel explained to me his art process- using a machine to burn pinpricks on wood. These pinpricks make a picture. Grauel says he is fascinated by the tension between machine and nature- and is specifically drawn to memories- furthering the idea of "burning".

As for the crowd: artists, writers (including Justin Natale of Newcity and freelancer Erik Wennermark), friends, students of Liz Nielson and .....a group of 16 year olds that grabbed a beer, checked out Long's painting for 5 minutes, then promptly left (hey, I would have done the same thing?). The space is small and intimate, and combined with the art and free beer is a perfect catalyst for thoughtful and friendly conversation.

The SPPS is open to the public only on Sundays, from 1pm- 5pm.

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