MINT Gallery’s Linearity forges connections through storytelling
Show’s best work explores what happens between points A and BTuesday June 26, 2012 10:58 am EDT
MINT Gallery’s 25-person show Linearity, curated by Kelly McKernan, explores “what happens in the connection between point A and point B.” The theme provokes a range of responses, from extraordinarily simple to theoretical and complex. Many artists rely on the literal imagery of lines, while others leave it up to the viewer to determine the connections. The show’s most engaging works visualize events that might unfold while traveling from place to place or during explorations of identity.
Mike Germon’s two collages combine worldviews from disparate periods throughout history into a compatible, compressed ideology. Presented against a celestial background, “Untitled Prayer (Daedalean Resurrection)” seems to see the sky through a holy man’s eyes as he clasps his hands and pleads with an angel. But a globe encircles his head instead of a halo. And the angel is in fact the famed classic Greek sculpture “Winged Victory of Samothrace.” A complex geometric shape replaces her missing head and a geode with a texture like jagged feathers substitutes for her right wing. These pseudo-religious images collapse faith and reason upon each other, as if humanity, by discovering the workings of the stars, could unveil the machinery of the universe. “Madonna Enthroned by the Six Earths” elaborates on Germon’s invented myths by bundling together belief systems: god-kings of Egypt, the Virgin Mother, phrenology, palmistry, astrology, and colonialism. Depending on one’s particular superstitions, seeing these iconic images scrapbooked together appears either as a testament to the power of human faith or marks a daunting cycle of belief in false knowledge.
Other stories feel more personal. In Chelsea Raflo’s 3-D collage “This Is Not an Intersection,” the artist has layered a rural landscape with paper cutouts. A barefoot young woman dropped into the scene stands with her feet parallel and knees slightly bent, arms hinged at her sides. Behind her there is a ramshackle house and a mountain range stunted by distance. One seems too far and the other too close. Raflo communicates a lack of connection, as if defining linearity by its negative space.
Marcy Starz presents a subject as frustrated as Raflo’s. In muted tones, “Don’t Get Up” tells a tale of defeat in the simplest of terms. The figure appears like a dancer, slumped on the floor in second position with bare legs, bare feet, bare shoulders, and hair tied up in a bun. Her shrugging posture diminishes her athletic appearance, as does the looming presence of an oversized wooden chair. The sense of inertia conjures an inner monologue for the woman: “I want to get in that chair; I cannot. I am small and injured, the chair is far and tall.” Starz presents a linearity in which one of the points prevents the other from completing the connection, like trying to force magnets of the same polarity to touch.
The works in Linearity that lack the kind of storytelling exemplified by Germon, Raflo, and Starz read as before-and-after snapshots where one can see points of connection, but not the process of change itself. It is the in-between that warrants emotional investment from the viewer, contextualizing the significance of the beginnings and endings. The shortest path between point A and point B isn’t always the best path.