Review: Video installations at The Pearl



Night-blooming cereus flowers from Courtney Egans video.
  • Night-blooming cereus flowers from Courtney Egan's video.

The Pearl is a 200-year-old farm house posing as a nondescript Bywater residence. It has served as a private salon and performance hall for owner Jay Poggi (aka MC Trachiotomy) and his friends for more than 20 years, and it has long been filled with weird wonders and curiosities. Currently functioning as a satellite facility of Prospect.2, it also has become an exhibition space for an eclectic assortment of art works curated by John Otte. Because it was already so densely populated with quaint and improbable objects, most of the new art takes the form of video projections that can be beamed into the rare empty spot, or onto existing fixtures like the antique bathtub now filled with Courtney Egan’s sublime time-lapse video of night-blooming cereus flowers (pictured) slowly unfolding in perpetual electronic efflorescence. It would probably be a great piece anywhere, but in the tub in the Pearl’s shadowy gloom it is magical. In similar fashion, Lee Deigaard’s Steady Star video animation of a trotting horse is projected on a cracked plaster wall that gives it the mystical aura of a cave painting or Etruscan fresco come to life. And Adrin Adrina and Elliot Coon’s Warrior video loop of mustachioed Amazon women in the buff hints at a feminist take on Robinson Crusoe in their darkened corner of the space. The Cage video by Kenyan-German duo Ingrid Mwangi and Robert Hutter would be creepy under any circumstances, but in the dungeon-like gloom of a disheveled shed structure the ghost of Hitchcock seems to lurk in the shadows. Also lurking in the recesses was Jennifer Odem’s curious Flora Pearlinious plaster sculpture, which is like a baroque internal organ surgically removed from an oversize humanoid extraterrestrial — an object of wonder and contemplation. Three years in the making, this exhibition was intended by Otte to integrate contemporary art with something of the baroquely eclectic and eccentric culture of the city, which the Pearl embodies like a Creole bohemian time capsule.

Through Jan. 29
The Pearl, 639 Desire St., (404) 840-2628

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