MINT Gallery settles into its new space with new gallery director Henry Detweiler. Detweiler organized the current exhibition, 636 // 08.03.13, a two person and semi-collaborative exhibition between Kevin Byrd and William Schweigert [August 3-September 6, 2013]. Detweiler aims to incorporate cutting-edge contemporary artists, elevate and reinvigorate programming, and add a sense of conceptual focus to MINT’s gallery exhibitions.
Kevin Byrd creates installations that read as plays and juxtapositions between materials yet with a stylized aesthetic taste. In Construction 2 (2013), Byrd’s urethane drippings appear to literally encapsulate light and time. The formal components in his sculptural assemblages stand on their own without any specified narrative. He confronts notions of “finish” by playing with, adding and subtracting elements. I’m reminded of Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, in the context of the Western philosophy of “more is more” and the Eastern philosophy of “less is more.” Byrd appears to lean towards Eastern thinking by reducing things to the essential and creating minimalist configurations as visual poetry.
One of the strongest moments in the show is Schweigert’s View From the Corner of the Room #2 (2013). While not initially evident, Schweigert’s photograph, taken from a corner of the gallery, and resulting installation responds to a personal family narrative: His brother served in the United States Marine Corps stationed in Iraq and returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—a common symptom consists of the individual standing in a corner of a room with their back to the wall so that nothing can sneak up behind them. Elements such as a printout of coping mechanisms and a faux Post-it note with Schweigert’s phone number on it in case his brother needs to call create a conceptual safe zone.
When Byrd and Schweigert met for the first time, they instantly wanted to collaborate and viewed the gallery space as one giant composition. A neon pink color palette is the common thread that seamlessly links the artists’ separate bodies of work. In Construction 1 (2013), Byrd starts to blur the line drawn between where his work ends and Schweigert’s begins—which is the ultimate takeaway of the show. Byrd does this by utilizing an electrical outlet located close to Schweigert’s View From the Corner of the Room #2 and covering it in the striking pink hue. In Byrd’s Drippings (on Floor) (2013), fluorescent lights beautifully illuminate Schweigert’s Chicken (2013) installation. The cords from Byrd’s lighting fall harmoniously in front of Schweigert’s work, creating a wonderful conversation between the two.
Both artists produce exciting statements in reaction to the other’s work; it’s like a back-and-forth ping-pong match of aesthetic choices, but here both players win the game.
CORRECTION: Closing reception: Sept 5, 2013 from 7-10PM
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