A Night of Metallica!

Avery Wheless, Artillery Magazine, June 6, 2019

This past Saturday was stacked with a number of intriguing openings, so we decided to join the sea of gallerygoers in a valiant effort to attend as many as possible. First on our list was Wilding Cran Gallery for their opening of Stephen Neidich’s “Making the Rounds (a place to wait)” and Marwa Abdul-Rahman’s “Eternal Return.” The front gallery featured the new installation by Neidich, which was composed of chains suspended from rotating mechanisms hanging from the ceiling. As they undulated, the chains struck a pile of concrete on the floor below, resulting in a cacophony of sound as the metal hit the rock. This rhythm coupled with the mingling voices of the audience produced an urban orchestra of sorts. I was thrilled to talk to Neidich as he described each chain had an individual life. He pointed out that some chains hit the rocks violently, while others brushed them more timidly. Some seemed too afraid to move and instead remained suspended—anxiously hovering above the concrete, yet not quite making contact. Since the work is composed of industrial materials hitting against each other the installation could be considered somewhat violent, yet, I found the contact quite poetic. As each chain struck the ground beneath them in a unique way, they became characters with movements indicative of their individual personalities—each sharing a different voice, but together resulting in something quite beautiful.


In the back room of the gallery were works from Abdul-Rahman’s “Eternal Return.” I was interested to learn that the mixed-media sculptures were primarily composed of donated clothes for the homeless, but were deemed too old or damaged to be worn. The freestanding sculptures stood bound in wire and rope, their bulbous forms appearing to almost pulsate in their new life within the space. The gallery itself was lively, filled with a crowd whose movements and conversations melded with and enhanced the work itself.


Next, we headed to Baert Gallery where we were met by the works of Francesa Longhini for her opening “Golden Anesthesia.” The show featured large-scale marble printed pieces with gold leaf illustrations and smaller painted canvases depicting geometric forms. The show resulted in a range of works from large to small. The contrast between the more intimate works and the vast prints revealed how these two styles complemented each other well. Their flow created a cadence in conversation—each saying just enough to engage in a thoughtful reflection with viewers. As we left Baert, heading onward to our next stop, we were thrilled to refuel at the complimentary taco truck outside before carrying on.


Next was Night Gallery, which was already filled with an expanding crowd—several of whom we recognized from previous openings that evening. We were impressed by those as ambitious as us in their Saturday night of gallery-hopping and even more impressed by the array of works on display. The opening featured Paul Heyer’s exhibition titled “Blue Boy” and Jin Shan’s “Hall of Mirrors.” Heyer’s new body of work depicted illustrations both dark and playful. They featured skeletons that appeared to tease viewers and scenes of luminously glowing trees coupled with uncanny large floating circles, which interrupted the world portrayed.


Shan’s show featured sculptures inspired the classical human figure, composed of contemporary materials and whose forms are manipulated in a way to appear melting, disintegrating and adapted from their ideal state. Shan’s installation carried over to the surrounding walls where the artist burned silhouettes of classical Roman columns, further referencing remains of once idealist states.


Even though we didn’t get to all of the openings, it was undoubtedly a well-rounded gallery experience this past Saturday. From chain installations, to gold leaf paintings, to decomposing forms, we got a glimpse into the worlds of multiple diverse artists and were left with much to contemplate for one night.


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