Friday, July 17, 2009
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Judith G. Levy
35mm film transparencies, plastic viewers,
Thought I would attempt to do some live blogging from the IMA today, so bear with me.
Judith G. Levy a one time Indianapolis resident, (she has recently moved to Lawrence, Kansas) has just finished a new installation in the Efroymson Pavilion (other wise known as the entry way of the IMA). This being the first installation in that space by someone with a connection to the local art community. I am always glad to see a local/locally connected artist make their way into the rotation at the IMA. I only hope that this remains a continuous thread in their curatorial plans. Though I would love to see the IMA adopt a similar project to the MCA's 12x12 program whereby each month they present the work of an emerging local artist. While here in Indy, the curators may strain to find 12 worthwhile artists a year for a number of years, but it could always be scaled down to a handful of artists each year with longer exhibition periods. But that is all talk for another day. Back to the installation at hand...
My first impressions upon walking into the space to view Memory Cloud was a one of admiration on the scale of the piece, that hangs over the entry way like a low hanging cloud. The piece is a bit much to take in at first, being quite close to you but slowly as you spend more time with it, walking around the space, stepping back and viewing it from a distance the form of the piece begins to take on a more striking form. Memory Cloud is a mass arrangement of 35mm slides, each in its own plastic viewfinder (the kind I remember getting as a child when I visited Disney World), hanging from a massive aluminum structure. It is these translucent plastic viewfinders that really create this illusion of form while the images themselves can not be seen except for a small fraction of them which happen to hang low enough for passers-by to peer through. The images viewed are a collection of found or appropriated slides of people and family life not unlike what many of us may have in our own family photo albums at home.
Memory Cloud takes on a more conceptual slant than many of Levy's earlier works and installations that I have personally seen. These images in plastic viewers that are out or reach, hovering overhead takes on this metaphorical presence of the collective memory of the public, shared ideas and emotions. These are all things most of us can relate to.
The longer I looked at this piece, seated here at my table as I write this, the more it seems to come together for me at least on a formalist level. Seeing the pieces sway slightly in the breeze and watching how the changing light levels play off to the plastic viewers becomes calming. Not unlike watching the leaves on a tree. If you happen to be at the IMA over the next couple months you will not easily miss seeing this work. Congrats to Judith!
UPDATE: This installation is a variation of an earlier work which was exhibited at Big Car Gallery last year. If you remember the piece from that exhibition, check out the latest incarnation at the IMA. I had the opportunity to see the earlier work and it was nice to see how the installation changed/evolved, while seeing how the artist played with each of the spaces in a different way. You can see images from that earlier installation at Big Car at this Flickr page.
Click here for the IMA's info on the installation.