Perambulating the Bounds

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Kendall Buster at Cheekwood

I’m a sucker for artists who fill a space with stuff, like Tara Donovan’s million plastic cups at Pace Wildenstein in New York, Ludwika Ogorzelec’s web of plastic strips in Nancy Margolis, or Deborah Aschheim’s growths that invaded the Frist Center. This mode seems to be a specialty of Kendall Buster, a faculty member in VCU’s sculpture program. I saw her show at Fusebox in DC last Fall, which consisted of a bunch of blue tents hung from the ceiling and placed edge to edge to create a false ceiling that filled the gallery and sloped from a height you could walk under and a dimension that squeezed you to the sides of the room. Now she’s got Cheekwood’s Temporary Contemporary space filled with yellow fabric columns hung from an irregular grid of hexagonal frames. The piece is called Subterrain (Column Field), and when you enter the small room you can imagine you are in a cavern or underneath a surface. The color and shape also put you in the mind of honey combs, and the artist’s statement points out architectural associations. I’m not sure there is too much to make of these sorts of pieces from an interpretive standpoint, but they are pleasurable in a visceral and intuitive way. It’s great fun to go into any environment utterly transformed by art (Dan Flavin and other people who work with light achieve this too), and it provides a kind of release. This piece wraps you in color. The kinesthetic effects of her pieces stand out, and I find them directed more at pleasure centers than intellectual or linguistic centers.

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