Whitespace features two winter exhibitions, “For-Ever Green” (located outside) and “The December Show” (located inside).
“For-Ever-Green” revolves around the idea of Big John’s Christmas Tree Lot. Despite being whimsical and playful, this tree lot is a kind of sculpture garden with a conceptual stance toward the effects of human interaction with the environment, which is evident through the artist’s choice of material.
Justine Rubine’s White Lichen is an installation of white pillow-like structures constructed of readily available FedEx envelopes. The envelopes are sewn together into leaf-like formations that “grow” and “branch” down the tree like lichen coverings. Not only does lichen grow on trees, rocks, etc., it is also defined as an eruptive skin disease and is considered an example of mutualism, commensalism or even parasitism. The creative use of FedEx envelopes portrayed as lichen suggests how human interaction with the environment may change the natural order of things.
Sean Caffrey and John Trefry’s Goatlord sculpture is composed of discarded furniture, carpet, cotton twine, steel wire and assorted hardwood. This collaborative sculpture is interesting and comical in that the “repurposed” materials are items that a goat would actually eat. The monumental scale of this piece eludes to the idea of mass production and consumption.
“The December Show,” on the other hand, is a survey of new works by selected gallery artists. The exhibition consists of works in ceramic, drawing, installation, mixed media, painting, photography and sculpture. It is a combination of contemporary art and craft, and almost every piece is exceptional on its own. As a whole, however, the show lacks continuity, except for the idea of the works being “favorites” or through the pairing of works according to medium or narrative. Since “The December Show” is a survey, though, maybe they are not supposed to connect through such an obvious theme as “For-Ever-Green.”
Jody Fausett’s photograph, Open Door, is a romantic and eerie experience into a fantastical memory. The lonely swan sits in the chair as if tired after a long journey back to its empty home. The constructed narrative of simple props, combined with dramatic and natural lighting, creates a curious and nostalgic yearning of sympathy for the swan.
Ann-Marie Manker’s drawings both have similar iconography that hint at ideas of contamination, emptiness, and mutation. In When We Loved Not Long Ago, the subject has a doubled, similar to the repetition in paper dolls, where a strange robotic gaze seems to be the beginning of a transformation. The seeping black foliage appears to contaminate the natural order of existence. In her other drawing, You Vowed We’d Never Part, the girl and the flamingos seem to have morphed into another state caused by the environment.
Overall, I found Whitespace to be a refreshing experience where all of the works were technically solid. Both shows were a nice eclectic assortment of works.
“For-Ever-Green” and “The December Show” are both on view at Whitespace through Jan. 10.