Thursday Mar 22, 2018
Santa Fe, NM 87508
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Artists provide work that's the result of a radical method for reflecting on place and identity through art objects. Runs through 4/14.
Kyle Farrell, Alex Gill and Jordan Eddy, co-directors of Strangers Collective and the No Land art space, curate this exhibition of emerging artists and writers at form & concept. Mirror Box represents a network of early career creatives, starting in Santa Fe and spiraling across the nation. Its curatorial throughline presents a radical method for reflecting on place and identity through art objects. The show opens with a reception on Friday, February 24 from 5-8 pm, and runs through April 14, 2018.
The term “mirror box” originates in the medical field: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran invented the box with two back-to-back mirrors in the center to help amputees manage phantom limb pain. The patient places the “good” limb into one side, and the “residual” limb into the other, making mirrored movements that can trick the brain into believing that it’s moving the phantom limb. “It’s a tribute to the incredible power of grey matter,” says Eddy. “If our minds are capable of conjuring a nervous system from thin air, can we link up with people, places or things in the same visceral but invisible way?” The curatorial team realized that art, like the mirror box, can act as a conduit for this type of transcendent—but also highly tangible—experience.
“As we turned over the idea of a ‘mirror box’ in conversation, its meaning evolved to represent a sort of theoretical art object,” says Farrell. “If you imagine a cube made from mirrors floating in a landscape, it reflects you and your surroundings across six different planes. By peering into it, you begin view identity and place in novel ways.” The show’s participants interact with the world in a similar fashion, reflecting, filtering and distorting their varied contexts to create visions of the world that are requisitely imbued with their own experiences.
Photographer Emily Mason makes images of her surroundings, collages them onto sculptural props, and photographs the finished assemblages to create images that flicker between dimensionality and abstraction. Painter Nate Masse creates layered figurative compositions that compress visual details from multiple moments into a single, sensuous image. Sculptor Julie Slattery shapes talismanic objects—in this case, enormous bird skulls—that become emotional reliquaries for specific events in her life.
“The artworks and zines are mapping out this ‘complete picture’ of an experience,” says Gill. “We’re asserting that fully realized artistic expression can communicate something truer than, say, a hasty smartphone snapshot of a particular person or place.” In an increasingly polarized world, it’s a radical act of empathy to dive through the looking glass.