Last weekend, I visited three exhibitions: Private Spaces: The Kansas & Florida Project at the Crealdé School of Art, Migration 2 at Julio Lima's Orange Studio and Mixed at the Pound Gallery. A process of narrowing the field ensued and essentially came down to which art left a significant impression in my memory and why.

At Crealdé, artist Les Slesnick presents a series of photographs documenting familial spaces inside homes in Courtland, Kan., and Dunedin, Fla. The Sept. 5 opening reception included a talk by the artist, with participants from Slesnick's Dunedin Project in attendance. People often say that you never really know someone until you live with them, but the hackneyed statement rings true in Slesnick's visual inventory of other people's prized possessions. The artist's photographs virtually paint the portraits of their subjects and traverse the fine line between invitation and invasion. Yet Slesnick achieves an ambience of intimacy and stillness in his painstaking attention to detail. Hospitality prevails between subject and photographer in this collaborative series, offering the opportunity to analyze how we interpret private space, and in turn, to better appreciate the value of memory. (through Oct. 25; www.crealde.org)

As a series, Doug Rhodehamel's Migration has unfolded like chapters in an epic tale. It began July 27 last year at CityArts Factory, and the sequel arrived Sept. 5 at Lima's bright-orange Mills Avenue studio. While the debut installation involved 4,011 camels fashioned from burnt matchbooks, Migration 2 brings 2,000 badgerlike animals made of clay. Like part one, Migration 2 is backed by Nigel John's original soundscapes. The finely tuned combination of a visual and sound-based narrative provoked my participation. I crouched down to decipher the variations in the pieces and moved around to peer at them from different angles, all the while constructing my own personal account of the mass migration. One badger had its head raised above the herd, as if it were checking its orientation to the path. Others trudged forward, protecting their offspring. I thought, "Where are they going? Why are they migrating?" Rhodehamel's choice of a one-night-only exhibition emphasizes how poignant our interaction with art becomes in a temporary format. (blog.myspace.com/dougrhodehamel)

My experience of Mixed at the Pound Gallery proved exactly that. The show relies on the premise that painting, sculpture, assemblage and collage from 12 different artists can be grouped together based on medium alone. This curatorial method fails to highlight the idiosyncrasies of each piece; what becomes lost in a mixed theme is the individuality of each artist. No single artist in this constellation is to blame for its lack of focus, but the context should be addressed. (through Sept. 30; www.cityartsfactory.com)

The late Swiss curator Harald Szeemann once said, "My interest is to create temporary worlds in the form of exhibitions." A feeling of artistic cohesion occurs in exhibitions that conceptually explore how artists are able to effectively influence our perception and memory. Thus, Rhodehamel's Migration series and Slesnick's Private Spaces successfully manifest themselves as temporary worlds that invite us to reflect on how we see.


More by Megan Bardoe


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