Lisa Slominski's cerebral solo at Dimensions Variable explores the malleability of memory and how we store, retain, and recall information in the high-speed digital age.
Her installation "Dreamy Nomads, Baby" incorporates light boxes, floor sculptures and a suite of flocked screen-prints on paper combining decorative elements that evoke all manner of art historical and contemporary design and architectural references.
Her exhibit is anchored by two large light box pieces arranged on opposing walls in a dialogue with each other. Each bears a text message in a direct call and response to the other, reflecting how in the era of Facebook and Twitter, the keyboard has supplied us with a new lexicon of hieroglyphic shorthand to not only communicate but also employ punctuation to convey emotions. The works were created by Slominski during her two weeks with the Fountainhead Residency.
Situated on the gallery floor in front of the light boxes are two sculptures, created with a collection of square and oval mirrors, each arranged around a 2x2 foot section of linoleum tile at the center from which the glass radiates outwards.
Their reflective surfaces face up, refracting light, snippets of the light box text and the passing image of the spectator as one navigates the space around them. One is immediately struck by the sunlight bouncing off some of the mirrors onto the walls and ceiling in distinct rays bringing to mind how Native Americans used reflective surfaces to signal each other across vast distances long ago before the advent of modern technology.
One is also struck by the notion that one's reflections, caught from the tail of the eye, as one walks around the mirrors, amplifies a sense of the at times, fleeting nature of our recollections.
Incorporated into these hypnotic pieces are groupings of laser-cut blue Astroturf patterns suggestive of arabesques, damasks and droplets of water. The resulting impression of the sculptures is that one is peering down at their reflections into Baroque or Rococo era fountains.
While walking around her floor sculptures one conjures images of ancient pools of limpid water where people first caught their visages reflected back at them recalling the myth of Narcissus.
The serial patterns of blue carpet arabesques and droplets serve to heighten the notion of streaming rivulets while the nature of the mirrors and baroque influences abstractly bring to mind some of the masters from art history who incorporated images of mirrors in classical masterpieces.
Sandwiched on an adjacent wall between her light boxes, Slominski's seductive suite of flocked screen-prints speak directly to the notion of memory distortion. These prints, arranged in a loose grid, are monochromatic in nature and at first blush appear not unlike fading photocopies of each other, in what might be described as blacks bleeding into lighter shades of gray before nearly evaporating before one's eyes into a ghostly white hue.
Inspired by Baroque period flocked, velvet wallpaper, the prints boast damask patterns and seem to have been crafted from the Jacquard looms that produced antique padded textiles. But while they possess a tactile veneer reminiscent of ancient fabric, upon closer inspection one detects phrases from Slominski's enigmatic text messages woven into the weft of the fading patterns.
The repetitive words imbedded into the prints along with the decorative patterns also allude to the ambient din of untold transmissions flying through the ether and our growing isolation from face-to-face engagements.
Some visitors to the space will likely cast a furtive glance at Slominski's elegant yet spartan presentation and dismiss it as a collection of forms and patterns typically displayed at a designer's showroom. But that would be a waste. The work provides an opportunity for more profound contemplation.Therein lies the subtle beauty and meaning of her project. At a time when conversation is blurred by technology and often conducted at an intimate disconnect, she invites viewers to reconsider a sense of deeper communication.
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Look for the full review in this week's print edition.
See "Dreamy Nomads, Baby" through October 22 Dimensions Variable (171 NE 38th St, Miami). Call 305-607-5527 or visit dimensionsvaraiable.net. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday noon to 5 p.m.