At Lawndale Art Center's "Big Show" last summer, Katie Wynne's piece stood out from the nearly 70 others in the exhibition. The installation consisted of just a motorized tie rack and blue satin, but the rack was turned on so that it was constantly turning and catching the cloth in its hangers. It was utterly mesmerizing in its simplicity.
Lawndale's latest round of shows features a different Wynne, one who is much, much messier. In the artist statement for "A chain of non-events," found up-upstairs in the third-floor Project Space, the Houston artist even says, "In a reality of too much orderliness, I am keeping room for the untamed." This is a show that revels in its disorderliness.
This ambitious exhibition feels like one giant installation, though is really broken up into five works. There are no tie racks employed, but there are oscillating fans, cassette players and a foot massager, which, mounted on the wall, looks like a big cassette or mini air-conditioner. Scattered about these electronics are colorful blouse sleeves, wrapping paper, sequins, cardboard, felt, fabric and more. These fragments are propped up by wooden beams or tables, which are connected by white string that creates a loose trail and propels you from one piece to the next.
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The machines have a sense of following some innate logic or instruction. The fans in last judgment repeatedly go back and forth, moving the blouse sleeves attached to them with it, to no end. A paint brush in pangea maria is attached to an oscillating fan and twists like a brush stroke, though the brush is dry. It feels like a rote action, one that can't be helped but to be done, long after there's paint, like a muscle memory.
These little situations and setups are not as simple as a tie rack and satin, or as mesmerizing for that matter. It's more complicated, more layered, and harder to access. Which isn't a bad thing.
"Katie Wynne: A chain of non-events" at Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main Street, runs now through April 20. For more information, call 713-528-5858 or visit www.lawndaleartcenter.org.