Review of The Aesthetics of Scale by Simmons and Lines
by Ivan Riascos
One of the small treasures in the area for those seeking to be exposed to contemporary themes in the art world, the Orlando Museum of Art has a program called New Work: A Series of Bi-Monthly Exhibitions of Contemporary Art. I always look forward to seeing these exhibitions, which are shown in a small gallery space, that is set-aside from the museum’s main galleries and an added bonus, it’s free! So how can you beat that?
The majority of the time the art shown here is more cutting edge and conceptual than what is shown in the museum’s main galleries.
New Work is aimed to educate viewers in the area of contemporary art that work in various mediums including new media and collaborative projects.
The exhibition I went to see was The Aesthetics of Scale, by Rachel Simmons and Lee Lines (http://www.omart.org/exhibitions/rachel-simmons-lee-lines). The images were black and white on white paper, with visible traces of charcoal and graphite. The sizes of the paper were roughly 16 X 20 inches or 8 X 10 inches, which was a series they titled POSTCARDS, even though they were not the standard size of a postcard. The imagery came from photographs taken by Lines on his travels across the world, which are later transferred by a printing method to paper. Barren landscapes and modern structures are juxtaposed. The choices made by the duo sometimes work and sometimes loses the formal qualities and disorients me, questioning what I’m looking at.
The pieces that I thought were particularly strong were;
–Landscape as Measure 2, I thought of how humans make themselves at home no matter how isolate the area.
–Economy of Scale, made me think of arteries and how we are connected.
–Unconformity 2, the past versus the present, or is the past in the picture really the present, but we assume time lines without understanding the full scope.
–Landscape as Measure, is it possible to contain the world in glass houses, and of course what happens when we throw stones at these structures.
The Postcards, were smaller images, covering one wall from top to bottom, and reusing the imagery from the large prints, but juxtapose differently, which did not offer any new insights to the artists intentions.
This exhibit was collaboration between an artist (Simmons) and a scientist (Lines), a dialog between the professions that started on a trip to Iceland where they witnessed first hand a nation that is dedicated to renewable energy. They are addressing scale and sustainability in the landscape.
Overall the concept is very contemporary, but the artwork and use of materials did not relate to the concept. It did not bring it into the 21st century, which stop me from defining it as contemporary art other than the fact the year is was made.
Here is a link to Rachel Simmons’s blog that has some of the images from the show. http://www.omart.org/exhibitions/rachel-simmons-lee-lines