Kaleidoscope: Variance In Views... Empowering You
Works Depicting Multiple Perspectives of Life by Women Artists
We begin with Phyllis Sinrich's satirical portraiture, wherein mannequins take on lives and personalities of their own. The very state of portraiture imbues the mannequins with such an anthropomorphic quality as to suggest that the photos are about the mannequins themselves, as opposed to the clothes and accessories that adorn them. In elevating the mannequin to the level of subject rather than prop, Sinrich capitalizes on a reinterpretation of the very definition of a mannequin. However, this reinterpretation is simultaneously challenged when viewing the portraits as part of the exhibition. The repetition of the portraits in close proximity to one another pushes their similarities to the fore, and we begin to question why there isn't more variation amongst the grouping. It is at this moment that we are once again reminded that the portrait subjects lack variation because they are, in essence, the same thing—mannequins—in different iterations.
The landscape photographs of Torrance York take a more literal approach to the investigation of perspective. The effect of lowering and obscuring the vantage point in York's photographs successfully invokes a number of feelings spanning a whole spectrum of emotion. In one sense, the very act of looking up at a very tall world that seemingly is closing in on us is threatening, yet the softness of the rural landscape mitigates any sense that danger is imminent. As the landscape begins to take more precedence in the viewing experience, the photograph softens as a whole, and the relationship between high and low begins to feel more comforting and nurturing, mimicking the act of a child looking up at a parent. In another sense, however, the rural landscapes being photographed are ironically being caught in a state of infertility and barrenness. In this way, York presents the possibility of an action that is absent at present, but has a life somewhere beyond the point in time at which the photograph was taken. The presence of the unknown activates any feelings of danger that were suggested at the outset of viewing, and we are left with two tangential viewing experiences from which to choose.
While abstract paintings inherently lend themselves to multiple interpretations, in the context of Kaleidoscope: Variance In Views... Empowering You, the initial visual qualities of Lori Glavin and Francine Funke's canvases in themselves provide quiet fodder for more passive contemplation on the subject of perspective, versus Sinrich and York's more direct and narrative photographs. Glavin's paintings give voice to an internal struggle between exercising control and the lack thereof. The centers of her paintings are explosions of geometric forms that resist traditional shape, yet border close enough to warrant a second look. However, around the periphery of these paintings Glavin's strokes soften and overlap, as though creating a sort of inverse eye of the storm. The balanced tension between the chaos of the center of the paintings and the softness of the perimeter translates into a visual conundrum of "the chicken or the egg" — did chaos beget softness, or visa versa?
Contrarily, Francine Funke scales back her abstraction to the point of creating paintings that are more like color field abstractions than paintings where the representation resists abstraction. What results are placid canvases that serve as investigations of themselves, making use of the entire surface of the canvas to revel in the lights and shadows of a single color or blend of colors. The periodic punctuation of identifiable forms, such as in Lotus Sunrise, does not challenge the abstract qualities of the painting, as the forms do in Glavin’s paintings, but rather enhance it.
Amidst the vast spectrum of artistic differences present in Kaleidoscope: Variance In Views... Empowering You, there is a shared investigation of multiple states of being. Each of these works can be interpreted in a number of ways, yet these interpretations are neither contradictory nor completely complementary to each other. The simultaneous presence of oppositional forces, such as in Lori Glavin's chaotic centers and softer periphery, or Phyllis Sinrich's humanized mannequins, creates tension within the artwork that takes us both in and outside of the artwork. The effect of all these artworks viewed jointly thus becomes a kaleidoscopic convergence of many perspectives a single exhibition.