“…I’ve visited lots of art in corporate spaces, but this was a freaky li’l experience, somewhere between gallery visit and Being John Malkovich. I went on a Saturday, and was let into the locked building, eventually, by security guards who talked at me through an unseen speaker.
“The door to your right, ma’am. TO YOUR RIGHT. No, not the revolving ones.”
Once in, I was directed to two floors, the 5th and the 14th, I think. There were signs. The building’s elevator was really plush, and played actual elevator music. Upon arrival at one, then the other floor, I had to sort of look around to find the unfinished offices/exhibition spaces, each of which contained multiple works of art, as well as a young woman acting as host/guard. And in each elevator ride, each floor search and each show room, I was the only viewer, which felt both focus-enhancing and a little surreal.
The set-up is odd, but the search is worth it.
As you can see, the space is far from overstuffed. There’s space for art and viewer to breathe — and for to you approach each piece largely without distraction from the others. This careful footprint allows for a wide range of media, scale, palette, site-specific installation and smaller wall work. The Rutledge Biennial show takes on an impressive magnitude via relatively few works; the ones she chose are doozies.
In the first gallery I visited, I was drawn into an ambitious, immersive, slightly menacing room transformed into a cramped, dystopic interior architecture. It was Kathryn Kelley‘s without your forgiveness I am still bound to what happened between us. only you can set me free.
I didn’t know the title until just now, I looked it up. I’m surprised by the call for forgiveness, but the “stuck” aspect comes at you as both straightforward and arresting; we’re looking at rubber, wood — an aftermath of something ripped asunder. My mind went immediately to post-terrorist sites and other monstrous un-buildings. But Kelley’s assertion of personal narrative, of Kelley/the narrator mired in these drooping outsize hoses and wooden remnants, makes for an explosively potent disaster area of the heart. I find I don’t need to know “what happened between us,” but can reflect on all the battlefields we all live in, still hoping for release, still depending on the actions of an Other who may or may not be amenable, or alive, or comprehending.
I saw some small lights interwoven into the construction, but unfortunately, they weren’t on. Lit up at night, the piece must be particularly wrenching. …”
By Sarah Fisch, out of San Antonio and beyond.0