In Art News
Naked Wraiths, a Spouting Crucifix, and an Ill-Fitting Garment at Ghost Gallery
Ghost Gallery does not have air-conditioning. But last Thursday, when the temperature outside hit 89 degrees, it stayed cool even with three dozen people in the small gallery. This must be attributable to the ghosts. It was the first big opening at the amiable little boutique gallery where Crawl Space used to be. Crawl Space was scrappy but had a serious cast (backed by the fact that it showed some of Seattle's greatest young artists); Ghost Gallery has a Persian rug and three levels of objects on display. There are: the things that people will buy (inexpensive handmade jewelry and arty knickknackishness), the things that people might buy (inexpensive art including lovable paper-bag puppets by Emmett Montgomery), and the things that people will almost certainly not buy (the featured art, which this month is a show of videos called ACTION!, co-sponsored by 911 Media Arts Center and the Warhol Foundation).
The lights were low to accentuate the (ghostly) videos, which lent the feeling that the gallery's power had gone out except in flashy pockets. Psychedelia was everywhere in evidence, which caused one gallerygoer to remark, "That shit really has to be earned," which caused me to agree. Three videos acted as greeters in the main room: The Birth of Dreams by Frank Correa and Nick Bartoletti (featuring a man's head wrapped in string, then subjected to spiraling effects, then another man holding a baby while drooling apparent blood, then a pretty lady in the sun and wind); Dumb Eyes' Mounthaven, which involved, endearingly, the zooming in on and out of a campfire subjected to an effect someone called "overdriven color"; and a view of a crucifix shape continuously spouting water, titled Bidet by Tabor Robak, which one person described as "dripping with spirituality."
Two other videos haunted corners, to their advantage, and to the advantage of the corners. Garden of Delights, by Izzie Klingels and Amanda Manitach, appears to be a nicey-nice homage to old-time film (cue hand-cranked soundtrack), but instead depicts naked ladies in Victorian gardens as obsessive, slithering wraiths. Angry Fruit Salad, by Joseph Gray and Keith Tilford, is an ethereal white foam-core wall sculpture with a video of colored shapes projected onto its jutting, angular surfaces. The video is controlled by a program that detects motion; maximum motion means saturated color while no motion means paleness. The color falls on the shapes slightly imprecisely, like an ill-fitting garment—which only adds to the interest and charm. And to the feeling that something, some unseen thing, is running this show.