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 V.14 No.41 | October 13 - 19, 2005 

Gallery Review

Growth

Connect Combine Integrate Replicate at the Yale Art Center

Yale Art Center owner Marissa Glink with her sculpture “Fluid Motion”
Yale Art Center owner Marissa Glink with her sculpture “Fluid Motion”

Marissa Glink never planned to be a gallery owner, but when Casey Greenling made it known to her that he wanted to unload his Yale Art Center, Glink jumped at a golden opportunity. "It was one of those unexpected surprises," she says. "The space is great. It's got excellent track lighting. I just thought there were endless possibilities."

Initially, Glink wasn't all that thrilled about the gallery's name, which she thought was somewhat generic. She later saw the appeal in a title that implies more than just a simple gallery. "This space is so versatile," she says. "I want to open it up to the community for events that go beyond just exhibits. Next month there will be Tai Chi classes held here three days a week. I'm also working on getting art classes and other events in the space."

Detail from installation by Jen Van Horn
Detail from installation by Jen Van Horn

For now, though, the Yale Art Center continues to revolve around presenting monthly exhibits. The current show, featuring work by Glink and UNM grad student Jen Van Horn, is well worth a visit.

Connect Combine Integrate Replicate consists largely of ceramic shapes arranged to suggest the forms of biological organisms. Glink's contributions consist of two separate but related works, each occupying an entire wall.

The smaller piece is composed of oceanic sponge-like ceramic shapes tinted either a faded blue or rusty color. They cling to the white wall in the same way anemones might cling to a rock. Their tubes look something like suction cups on the underside of an octopus. You're tempted to touch them, but it's hard to shake the anxiety that these weird organisms might just grab onto your fingers and refuse to let go.

Glink's other piece is made up of globular ceramic clusters, light swirls ornamenting the tops of each sphere. These also look like oceanic growths, or maybe bacteria magnified under an electron microscope—beautiful, pleasantly puzzling.

The opposite side of the exhibit space is filled with Van Horn's work, which is conceived as a single unified installation, although it's made up of quite distinct pieces. I was told that viewers are allowed to touch the art. In one sense, this is fun because ceramic bones and mushrooms detach from main bodies allowing you to explore the inner structure of Van Horn's organic creations. In another sense, though, it's a little unnerving because the pieces seem so fragile. It doesn't seem right to touch them. Anyway, don't bring the kids along. It's an accident waiting to happen.

Van Horn's installation also consists of roughly woven nylon shapes ornamented with ceramic bones and feathers. Everything interconnects thematically with a large net suspended from the ceiling of the space. Inside this fishing net, more ceramic shapes are trapped.

The best aspects of both Glink's and Van Horn's work seem less like the products of a deliberate artistic vision than an evolutionary growth beyond all human control. The lesser aspects, especially in Van Horn's installation, seem forced, somewhat overly conceived.

Still, I liked the unpretentiousness of one of Van Horn's globular ceramic creations, resting on a counter in the same place you might expect to find a potted plant. Both artists have instilled a naturalness in their work that makes it extremely appealing. You don't have to think about it too much. You just need to stare at it—and maybe play with it—to be amazed.

Connect Combine Integrate Replicate, an exhibit featuring work by Marissa Glink and Jen Van Horn, runs through Oct. 28 at the Yale Art Center (1001 Yale SE). A reception will be held on Friday, Oct. 21, from 6 to 9 p.m. For details, call 242-1669.

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