The Austin Chronicle


Local Arts Reviews

Reviewed by Rachel Koper, September 3, 2004, Arts

"Open Doors"

621 W. 30th, through Sept. 5

Why doesn't someone wrap the Intel building in bubble wrap? With a little plaque that says "Do not open until 2020." Little kids can pop the little bubbles for an hour at a time. Bubble wrap makes even ordinary houses look great. Hunter Cross gave his house the full treatment for this short exhibit called "Open Doors." Artist Terra Goolsby has "protected" the house. As you walk up the street, you see a well-lighted white house with every step and wall bulging and shiny – completely bubble-wrapped. Oh sure, it's been done before, but when's the last time you've done it?

A group of nine artists has been concentrating on this exhibit for the last two months. In each room, they've set one piece of art, none of them particularly related to one another in theme but all of them having "various dimensions." That's the operative phrase for installation art and the long list of the materials. My favorite piece was Grand Hall, by Kate Scherer. Bacon, silicone, chicken feet, wire, and wood are part of the work, which consists of groups of wall trophies hanging close together. Each trophy has routed edges and a blank plaque underneath a purple pillow with a chicken or turkey foot sticking out of it. One set has coarse black plastic hairs; another has mucous-y silicone goobs projecting out. The bird feet made me laugh. Three sets hang on dark red walls, and the dark colors of the room and crowded clusters made me feel comfortable.

Distinctly uncomfortable throughout the evening was Juan Carlos Gonzalez. He was gagged and crammed into the fridge in the kitchen as a performance piece titled Vicarious.

Overall the treatment of flooring is impressive throughout the house. Sunken lights, like a shop window display, make the untitled labyrinth of Sandra Martinez a convincing experience to walk through. You can see through and move the strings , which are weighted by rainbow-striped concrete cylinders, but the night I was there most folks took the prescribed pathway through the ochre room because of the nice warm floor lighting.

Casting an impressive blue tint all the way out to the bubble-wrapped porch is Hora Vital, a collaborative piece by the talented Cole Thompson and Cesar Alexander Villareal. The floor is cushioned and rubberized and entirely robin's-egg blue in color. In the middle of the room is a pool structure with a chrome spike in its center. It has built-in lights, as do the blue walls, and a puffy cotton bag dangles over it, cloudlike. It's nifty.

The last room I saw contained a piece called "what? What? What?" utilizing mirrors, a projector, and a camera pointed on the blue entryway. Projected in a door shape to the left of the actual door are images of people as they first confront the blue room and enter the house. The use of the spy camera by Jacob Villanueva was simple, but it was extremely well-placed. This is an energetic and fun exhibit.

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