By Jeffry Cudlin
© Washington City Paper
Thursday, February 3, 2006.
A show about the intersection of art and technology might seem like an odd fit for Fraser Gallery, Bethesda's self-proclaimed standard-bearer for "contemporary realism."
Stranger still are the retro electronics that "Interface" offers: David Page’s Hopscotch, for example, looks like a prop from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. For Page’s opening-night performance, the machine moved two live human bodies through space by means of motors, a vacuum pump, and two hand-sewn straitjackets resembling fantastic 1930s flight suits. This meditation on instruments of control and protection took an excruciating 30 minutes—hardly the speed of the information age.
Claire Watkins, too, seems fixed on low-tech forces; in her work, magnets effect small changes in the behaviors of needles and iron filings. The transformation of simple materials in Flock of Needles is astonishing: Needles strain against various lengths of red thread, quivering and turning as they follow the slow rotation of a suspended magnet.
The clear winner here, though, is Kathryn Cornelius. Her video/performance, Retreat, is a short video loop shot during the artist’s return flight from Iceland. In it, the dim glowing reflection of an electronic solitaire game is superimposed over images of softly shifting indigo and blue-green clouds, accompanied by the continuous low rush of white noise. It’s a disarmingly austere, haunting little piece about both contemplation and killing time.
"Interface" is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006 at Fraser Gallery Bethesda, 7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E, Bethesda. Free. (301) 718-9651. (Jeffry Cudlin)
© Copyright 2006 Washington City Paper