It was a rainy day when I stopped by the MadArt Open Studio. The floor-to-ceiling windows were wide open, letting in the cold, wet air. As I carefully stepped inside the space, my foot landed on one end of a giant steel walkway that resembled something like the bones of a sprawling, intersecting, lattice steel structure. The path in front of me sloped upward, culminating close to the ceiling of the space. Engineers were hunched over the grates, welding them together, adding metal rods to the path, intended to be connected to the blue mesh that currently hangs on the façade of the building.
The structure-pathway is a result of a collaboration between Minnesota-based artist/architect duo Tom Carruthers and Jennifer Newsom—collectively known as Dream the Combine—and local artist-engineer Clayton Binkley. Together, these artists create inhabitable structures and installations that explore the body in relationship to space, light, and environment, having recently worked together on a Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1-funded project called Hide & Seek. And their MadArt exhibition Lure, which opens officially on Oct. 17, is a continuation of that project.
In keeping with MadArt's interest in playing with scale, light, space, and process—like I've written about Maja Petrić's We Are All Made of Light and Taiji Miyasaka's Circum·ambience—with Lure, Carruthers, Newsom, and Binkley are radically transforming the studio space and the viewer's relationship to it. The steel pathways mostly start right where the window-doors end, connecting and activating the street, in an attempt to draw people in. Hence the title of show. The end result will be a steel structure ensconced in blue mesh, with visitors meditatively and curiously exploring the constructed and illusory space that addresses "access, observation, and spatial demarcation in Seattle’s urban context." During my visit, walking on the unfinished structure was just as thrilling and strange as I imagine the final product will be, encountering a familiar place with a completely new perspective.
The Open Studio hours are Tues-Fri, 12-5pm if you're interested in seeing it come together, and the opening reception will be Oct. 17, 6-8pm.