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Exhibition Essay
December 18, 2020

Step Out of Monotony at “Time Unbound”

About the Author
Kevin Sun

See the exhibition here


In quarantine, many of us have fallen into monotony—the lines between the work day and the weekend, between one month and the next, have blurred. With our relationship to time more tenuous than ever, the works in Time Unbound offer a revelatory perspective. The newest exhibition at the InLiquid Gallery, which runs until January 2, 2021, features pieces by members of the Art Cloth Network (ACN) from two annual juried collections, Full Circle and Unbound.
Full Circle is a celebration of the ACN’s 20 year anniversary, exploring the concept of the circle, a visual representation of time’s cyclical and infinite nature. The Unbound collection is composed of works that expand the field, boldly experimenting with unique textures, styles, and techniques. Together, the works are diverse, yet harmonious, engaging visitors by allowing them to reflect on their experience of time and narrative.
There is a powerful expression of movement in many of the exhibition’s pieces. In Jean Sisson’s Ascending, elegant female figures in a dark, chaotic background are unconfined by definitive identity or environment, leaping with abandon in defiance of gravity. However, in Fling, an aptly named piece by Dianne Koppisch Hricko, gravity plays a crucial role. Aggressive streaks of thickened dye allude to forceful movement, but the drips running down the raw silk, as well as the mixing and bleeding of colors, convey a sense of age and history, of cause and effect.
In Judy Langille’s work, quilt patterns are used to show varying perspectives through repetition. Boxes displays a tessellation of cubes in various shades, creating a calming illusion of three-dimensionality. In 3-D Lattice, tradition and innovation collide, with quilted pieces of fabric stitched together to create physical depth, a matrix of adjacent rooms with colorful, padded walls.
This theme of perspective is evident in Joy Nebo Lavrencik’s Circle Dance as well. The work is composed of five layers of translucent mesh and gut, each with numerous circular cutouts. These circles never perfectly align, creating a mesmerizing assortment of intersections and overlapping openings, fluctuating between clarity and opacity. In Like Minded, Linda Waddle uses the circle as a lens into the psyche, a snapshot in time of a particular emotional state. These circles, colorful and expressive, serve as windows of insight in the midst of a disorienting checkered black-and-white background.
Many pieces serve as explorations of the natural world, such as Beverly Snow’s Circular Oaks and Maples. The compositional balance of the detailed leaf prints, as if perfectly arranged by nature itself, conveys a sense of harmony in the cycle of the seasons. Similarly, Melitta VanderBrooke’s In Air portrays a grandiose aerial depiction of the Andes mountains. From this bird’s-eye view, the rivers look tranquil and still, reflecting the clouds. Yet, the piece simultaneously pushes the viewer to consider the water’s flow through the mountain range, for rivers, like time, can only run in one direction.
Much of Melitta VanderBrooke’s work engages in examining the experience of the past, present, and future. Dave illustrates an arresting image of the titular subject standing in a doorway, a liminal space of sorts. The realistic detail of certain elements of the painting, such as the folds of fabric in the subject’s clothes, is both enhanced and subverted by its eerie monochromatic style, which resembles a photographic negative. This, along with the haziness of the environment, imbues the scene with the emotional valence of a hallucinatory dream or a long-lost memory.
In Water World, a dream-like quality is conveyed through color and light—the dark, midnight blues and the ambient glow of green reeds and yellow stars, all reflected across the water’s horizon. A figure is seen trekking through the night amongst ghostly jellyfish, evoking a sense of mystery and excitement towards an unknown future.
Priscilla Smith is also interested in the representation of narrative. Into the Darkness is composed of a thread of yarn circling inwards, changing in hue as it navigates a circuitous path towards a shadowy center. The shifts in color value of the yarn correspond to the darkening tones of the canvas, as if being pulled towards an inevitable conclusion despite its winding route.
Not More Than 3000, a more figurative work, depicts sketches of infants, separated and confined by aggressive black circles tinged with bloody red. Each child is portrayed with a unique posture, dress, and expression, conveying an individual story that has been reduced to a number, caught in a narrative of violence by way of bureaucracy.
According to theoretical physicist Carlo Rivelli, time is an illusion. He proposes that reality is a network of events that we happen to perceive in a sequence of past, present, and future. “Forward in time” is simply the direction in which entropy increases, and in which we gain knowledge. Moving forward, then, is not the simple passage of days, but rather, the attainment of new awareness. With this understanding, Time Unbound offers a unique opportunity: to venture ahead, to step out of monotony towards illumination.
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