It’s not a bold statement to say that artists are close observers, so an exhibition organized around artwork that studies and analyzes the surrounding world faces the steep challenge of saying something new in the process of its examination. Kent Gallery’s current show in Chelsea, Close Looking, tackles this theme by highlighting the work of six of the gallery’s artists.
From Dennis Adams’s four-channel DVD installation, Seize, which observes a rock-wall climber’s ascent up the Walker Museum’s facade via cameras attached to his ankles and wrists to Emily Prince’s folksy drawings of various seemingly random groupings of images and objects in her own home, Close Looking looks closely at the everyday world without its context to reveal subtle patterns and orderings that might, otherwise, pass un-noted.
Of all the work in the show, Heide Fasnacht’s drawings take observation and reorganization one step further to reveal the structure beneath the eye’s very act of observing. Based on the work of Robert L. Solso, a cognitive behavior scientist from MIT who devised a machine called the eye-tracker to record people’s eye movements as they scanned a painting, Fasnacht’s R.E.M drawings track the eye movement associated with Seurat’s Les Poseurs. By using a painting by Seurat, an artist also interested in the way that the eye breaks down images, Fasnacht adds another layer to the work.
While Close Looking doesn’t venture into new curatorial territory, the show succeeds in unifying a diverse group of artists by virtue of a skill that informs all their various explorations.
through Dec. 21