Ideas of Mountains @ CRL

I thought the Creative Research Lab was walking distance from campus. (It wasn’t.) But I boarded bus #18 and found my way to the CRL in the heart of East Austin only 16 minutes late for the artists talk about their current exhibition, “Ideas of Mountains”, last Thursday.
I didn’t bring my camera to the event, but went back today to take pictures of some of the pieces. (Sorry the photo quality isn’t great and not all the pieces are documented — my camera kept dying!)

I got to the gallery space just as the presentation was beginning with Kendra Kinsey discussing her piece — a brown corduroy nest of buzzing televisions with the cords meeting in the middle.

“A stuffed TV incorporated more what I see them used for — comforting to people … it was a lot of experimentation. I didn’t know how it would turn out, it ended up differently than I expected.” – Kinsey

Megan Riley and Misha Penton collaborated on a multimedia installation that included a vocal track from a Celtic singer, original lyrics penned on the walls, an etheral light display, as well as the visual art elements of the piece. It was beautiful. When discussing the piece, Riley, who is actually a professional lighting designer by trade, said that it told the story of a woman who “had a lover that was a selkie, drawn back to sea.”

Nicholas Dertien‘s piece, “Asthma through a Transparent Body”, comprised of a series of 3 blown glass forms suspended from the ceiling with a light projected through them, casting shadows on the walls.

The piece actually extended out to the left of this, with three most busts grouped together in juxtaposition of this stand alone piece.

Inspired by the work of psychologist, Abraham Maslow and his theory of peak experiences, Dertien would exercise until he’d force himself to have an asthma attack. Then, he would sketch the sensation and make molds of these forms.

When I went back to the CRL to photograph the work today, I talked for a while to Nicholas Diertien. It was so exhilarating! I loved talking to an artist about his art and discussing the role of art in society, the importance of letting the work speak on its own, and the resources of an academic community and its influence on art.

Peter Reichardt, Mary Rothlisberger, and Kristyn Weaver’s installation: “Camp Base Camp: Everest Friends” was filled with whimsy and little details. I felt like I was exploring a giant play set. I was in love!

“We literally took the ‘ideas of mountains’ and came together as individuals to form a base camp where we could produce work and live. Instead of climbing a mountain we decided to deal with our friendship with each other. We chose to focus on Everest because it’s a three sided mountain, like the three of us.” – Reichardt

Each artist designed their own tent to best reflect their personality and role in the friendship. There was a recurring triangle motif that was subtle but brought all the elements of the installation together nicely. After the talk, I asked the artists if they had ever considered working in production design for films. Their installation was so nuanced, I bet they would be wonderful at such a job!

I wish I was an awesome photographer with a better (not dying) camera so I could have really shown off these works, they’re great! The exhibit runs through this Saturday. I definitely recommend it.

The Creative Research Lab is located in the Flatbed gallery space at 2832 East Martin Luther King, Jr.


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