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House Holds Objects


Installations at KK Projects — and installations are the name of the game here — are always mysterious, and Interior Ritual is no exception. I like the statement that accompanies the exhibition: "14 artists in true hospitable form invite us into their worlds /a show where inner worlds are exposed /fabric has a memory /the dilapidated turns into gold /miniature improbabilities provide shelter /a forest dynasty lives in a parallel universe /the popcorn god cures all /a thesis dissolves /childhood games form sacred geometry /subatomic decay patterns become ghosts /a grandiose feast makes a collective offering /people drink from flowers /and the catalog of artists is an actual house."

Shifting into rhetorical forensics mode, I set about tracking down links between those comments and the works in question as one might pursue evidence in a high-profile investigation. Did the visuals constitute a positive match with the verbal poetics? Are the perpetrators an emerging new breed of aesthetic suspects — serial installation artists? What did they know, when did they know it, and what were their motives? Our dragnet ultimately yielded mixed results. As with most shows at KK Projects, one mystery leads to another, but there are distinct points, if not persons, of interest along the way. Consider the statement, "the catalog of artists is an actual house." It actually is, albeit something of a dollhouse where each room refers to an actual installation. And when the dollhouse-catalog creator, Virginia artist Elliott Coon, lacked the most up-to-date information, she filled the void with a strategic tactical deployment of poetic license. Consequently, the catalog house captured the spirit of the exhibition as a whole while working nicely as installation in its own right.

Adrina Miller, aka Adrinadrina, also from Virginia, created the most extensive series of installations in an exhibit heavy on fabric and laced with feminine overtones, sometimes with a twist. Fabric Has Memory is an exponential patchwork afghan that overflows the bed and aggressively colonizes the floor. Cobbled from her mother's and grandmother's clothing as well as snarky words and images, it's an unusual case of Appalachian surrealism. More twisted is her mixed-media sculpture, If These Shoes Were Made for Talking, a cloth mat sprouting dozens of stiletto spiked heels like an Indian fakir's bed of nails, all nicely accented by a big feminine bow. Spiked with transgressive innuendo, this one is too thorny to contemplate. Even more disorienting is London artist Louise Riley's Film Still, in which a mattress, nightstand and rug are installed not on the floor but high up on the wall. Hanging from the ceiling and connected by an umbilical of threads to an embroidered image of a woman on the mattress is a lacy tapestry with a larger image of the woman — an effect like astral projection in a Hitchcock movie, or maybe a David Lynch remake of Rear Window. Some miniatures in the form of embroidered wildlife by Lorna Leedy and abstractions by Ricki Hill take us from the macro to the micro, neatly balancing Caroline Rankin's ironic landscapes and Seth Damm's wall sculptures of tiny awnings like vintage shop fronts minus the shops.

Meanwhile, across the street, the dilapidated does indeed turn to gold in some rooms meticulously gold leafed, floor to ceiling, by Jeffery Forsythe. A glowing gold-leafed stove in an otherwise empty room lends credence to Forsythe's maxim: "You never know when you are living in a golden age." Indeed. But matter decays only to be born again in another empty room, painted black and furnished with ghostly chalk drawings of domestic items — chairs, tables, even a fire in the bricked-up fireplace —  collaged by Kysa Johnson from the decay patterns of subatomic particles. Oddly, those patterns bear an uncanny resemblance to traditional voodoo diagrams, a coincidence that probably only an Einstein could decipher.

The lethal looking stiletto heels in Adrina Miller's If These Shoes Were Made for Talking, are almost too thorny to contemplate.
  • The lethal looking stiletto heels in Adrina Miller's If These Shoes Were Made for Talking, are almost too thorny to contemplate.

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