I stopped by Krowswork gallery in Oakland to see the solo show “Everyone” with new work by Liz Walsh. At first the objects, paintings and photos are seemingly disparate and appear as if this is a carefully curated group show. Upon closer inspection their connections become apparent from piece to piece, and from one room to the next. Overall, a gem-like mystery and obvious truths shroud the work.
The materials and media range from tapestries to sculpture, paintings on paper to photography, and video projections both with and without sound. Though each piece has its own significance, the aesthetics and the underlying concepts pull the work together, one piece informing the next and back again. The relationships between the pieces are not necessarily linear, but rather visually playing off one another in various complimentary ways. The photography, paintings, and films engage in a triad. The photography function to travel and walk through various landscapes both flourishing and imperfect; the paintings fixed as colorful and detailed studies of these places that insert Walsh more directly; the projections becoming temporal flashbacks of present landscapes.
Yet, as I write this it is difficult to not consider the projections as sculpture. There are two videos in the exhibition. “Collect” is a landscape montage set over the sound of waves and cast upon a woven tapestry, “Guide”, which is smaller than the visual plane of the projection. “Health” is an abstract film with a strange white silhouette of Skeletor and is connected to a live feed in another room of the gallery. Both are engrossing; one is a quiet, comfortable and visually complex, while the other is life size, interactive and strangely entertaining.
I kept staring at a small embroidered piece called “Pelt”; the long, abstract stitches in repeated lines and clusters on a plastic mesh that was casting a shadow on the wall behind it, defied its formality with playful color and unpretentious, low-budget materials. The paintings in the same room have similar colors, the line work is echoed – each brush stroke like a stitch too. But ultimately, the simple yet oddly detailed piece “Monstera” holds the show together like a small icon somehow. The show ends on May 18, so there is plenty of time to see all of the work in person.
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-Contributed by Leora Lutz