“SPACE:1999” is the newest group show at Incline Gallery. The show appropriates its title from a science fiction television series in the UK of the same name. In the series the protagonists are faced with addressing a new reality as they find themselves cast adrift in space after a huge nuclear waste explosion sends the Moon where they reside into deep space. Incline gallery is nestled down an alley in the heart of the mission, which as the name suggests, is dominated by two ramps that ascend the space, demanding that it be used as a un-white-cube. Overall, the work in the show draws from various forms of appropriated practice, be they materials, eras, methods or by appropriating the space itself.
Upon entering the space, a site specific installation by Chris Fraser surrounds visitors as they ascend the ramp to enter the gallery. The ramp is dark except for the lines of light spilling in from a two-foot band of the wall where the drywall was removed to expose the lath slats underneath. The exposed wall follows the ascending angle of the path, spanning the entire walk-way. Light augments the architecture of the facing wall, and augments bodies as they walk through it, shading them in streams. Fraser, in a past interview with SFAQ explains that for him, “light is an agent of connection.” In this case the light is directly connected to the existing architecture of the space. Later the light source will remain as part of the regular gallery lighting, but the patterns that the light generates in the installation will no longer be there, rendering them void to future connections. Void is temporal here – the building is a permanent masking tape for these temporary illuminated permutations, which will be subsumed later by the repair of the wall when it is returned to its full and complete state again. Fraser has managed to make a peculiar feature of the space into an experiential phenomenon.
Taking a right turn up the ramp and ascending more, visitors will encounter an installation by Randy Colosky, “Thinking Inside the Box” – an aptly kitsch title. An illuminated black-boxed screen that is “building” grids and angles one after the other and on top of itself sits on black carpet. A fluorescent-painted sculpture nearby seem to be a relic of lost architecture. The whole vignette has the appeal of objects discarded from a dark room lined with video games and pin ball machines between the bowling lanes and the bar with vinyl seating. Ascending the ramp again, a totem of turned aluminum stands at the landing in a pool of glistening shavings. The piece is simple and elegant – the varying angles, satin-sheen reflections and sparkles from the material are a meditative counterpart to their industrial origins.
Also on view is a large anaglyph tondo by Dean Smith. Recalling Renaissance paintings of divinity scenes, the piece hovers over the entire exhibition from the main landing of the gallery as an anchor for the journey of ascension up the winding ramps. The old-school 3D glasses required to view the work in full wavering effect mirrors the sci-fi theme of the exhibition. Across the way is a captivating piece by Sandra Ono. Surprisingly, the piece is made of garbage bags but the surface resembles a plush, shag tapestry of a strange and foreign celestial landscape. Also included in the show are two more works by Ono and Colosky that although beautifully executed and intriguing in their own rite, do not fit as strongly with the overall theme of the exhibition as the above mentioned works do. Regardless, engaging with the space and the work here is absolutely appropriate beyond appropriation.
For more information visit Incline Gallery, San Francisco.
-Contributed by Leora Lutz