The first impression is of an irregular and very complicated . . . what? There are no ready-made words to describe the strange, very strange architecture of Jessica Kreutter's sculpture at post-studio projects in her exhibit "Coalescence."
It is composed of interlocking metal frames, covered with whitish clay that has been pressed onto the metal, so the overall effect is sepulchral, ghostly, a graveyard at midnight. The metal pieces - all of them white, white, white - may be a child's crib, or a bedstead, as long, thin square poles hold them together, bridges and perhaps also weapons, lances.
There is a curved, round pole that looks like a shepherd's crook, and curved round poles that create circles toward the middle, and an arching long curved round pole that spans the room to land on a white clay mirror on the rear wall, dislodging just enough clay to let is see that it is a would-be reflective surface - were it not for the ubiquitous clay.
There is a truncated round disk near the floor, and a lattice-work fragment that has been curved into what could be protective armor for a giant armadillo. Kreutter has created the feeling that anything can happen here, so the armadillo is less far-fetched than it might otherwise seem.
The floor has an incomplete checkerboard pattern, composed of whitish tiles, with the black floor providing the alternating dark squares, making one wonder if this is an alien's three-dimensional chess board, in which planets are the pawns, and survival or annihilation are the stakes?
Two more long round poles at the far right cross each other, creating what could be entrances - if one dared to penetrate this forbidding landscape. And one of these poles has some small brass pendants suspended from one end, the only relief, except for part of the mirror, from the omnipresent white. The artist referred to these as "golden gonads", but I preferred to call them "balls of brass".
Even aliens like to accessorize.
The creation of this assemblage is unique, as Kreutter began August 1, the beginning of the exhibition, with a framework, and added to it bit by bit until the viewing of the finished sculpture at a reception on August 22. Seeing the development and progress was part of the exhibition, and one reason the entire presentation is so unusual.
Kreutter has gone for the dynamism of the strange, so there is no beauty here, except for the brass pendants, but there is a power, and a mystery. I wouldn't want to find this structure in my back yard, but I was very glad I found it at the gallery. The artist suggested that the work spoke of memories and decay, and it does that, but it also resonated with me as an emblem of neglect. Perhaps this is what happens when one forgets to water the flowers. Or to tell friends that one loves them.
Coalescence: A solo exhibition by Jessica Kreutter continues through August 30, post-studio projects, 2315 Commerce, open Tuesday to Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 832-207-8110, post-studio.org
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