"Kira Lynn Harris: Glittering Dystopias"


It's amazing what a coat of paint can do to a gallery. In the instance of Kira Lynn Harris' "Glittering Dystopias," it's the transformative power of a matte black nightscape that engulfs Women & Their Work's gallery walls. The exhibition strikes a distinctly new tone for the often-bright space: Now a moody scene unfolds with an overwhelmingly dark palette.

"Glittering Dystopias" divides itself into two distinct camps: one being Harris' pastel and paint site-specific illustrations, which create a megacity hybrid of New York, Dubai, and Detroit, culminating in a giant Tesla coil; the other being a site-specific found-object sculpture.

Harris' illustrative work simply conveys a medley of dystopian imagery. Buildings are fragmented into negative space against darkened gallery walls, with only white and gray shaded blocks to distinguish the metallic silhouettes against a night sky. (Harris refers to these as "broken grid drawings.") The urban environment and its contemporary evolution take center stage for "Glittering Dystopias" and Harris cites everything from Metropolis to Mad Max as influences. Her pulsating Tesla coil creates the impression of a mad scientist at work, but can also more largely represent the scientific breakthroughs that engendered our urban lifestyles.

"Glittering Dystopias" loses focus, and perhaps even momentum, with its sculptural inclusion. The work occupies a single corner, its Mylar, glass, and plastic components casting a distorted reflection of the surrounding light. The raw materials seem haphazardly linked and bear no mark of a dystopian apocalypse – instead, the sculpture feels too manicured for an exhibition that otherwise details the jagged ends of a culture post-collapse. Its decorative appearance distracts from the complex illustrations which are more captivating subjects, even in their simplicity.


"Kira Lynn Harris: Glittering Dystopias"

Women & Their Work, 1710 Lavaca
www.womenandtheirwork.org
Through Aug. 29

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Arts Reviews
Capital T Theatre's <i>The Hunchback Variations</i> and <i>...Faustus</i>
Capital T Theatre's The Hunchback Variations and ...Faustus
The company's pairing of two Mickle Maher one-acts gets lit about art in a sublime way

Elizabeth Cobbe, Nov. 16, 2018

Mary Moody Northen Theatre's <i>Men on Boats</i>
Mary Moody Northen Theatre's Men on Boats
With a diverse cast of women playing white men exploring the Grand Canyon, this show recasts history to show guys who just don't get it

Robert Faires, Nov. 16, 2018

More by Caitlin Greenwood
Kevin McNamee-Tweed: The Exit Interview
Kevin McNamee-Tweed: The Exit Interview
As he leaves Austin, the award-winning curator and artist reflects on the city's artists and art community

March 10, 2017

“I saw the world” at Pump Project
“I saw the world” at Pump Project
Imperialism and identity compete in Betelhem Makonnen’s solo show about a 19th century Ethiopian prince

Dec. 23, 2016

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle