50/50’s Co-Host: Following Planted with an Awkward Payoff by Melaney Mitchell

November 24, 2015

OK Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship | , , , ,

Editor’s note: Melaney Mitchell is a Kansas City-based 2015 Fellow in OVAC’s Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship (OAWCF) program. This writing was completed as a part of the program. For more of Melaney’s work, keep an eye out for the January/February Special Edition of Art Focus Oklahoma, which will feature writings from the 2015 OAWCF cohort.

1

On Instagram, scrolling down the timeline of 50/50’s first year, I can follow each step of planning, construction, and studio visit by the artists that run the space. Cambria Potter and Hannah Lodwick, hybrid artist-curators, are pictured in these minimal tastes of progress. This transparency allowed 50/50’s audience to build a more than a year’s worth of anticipation for the arrival of the exhibition “Co-Host.”

2

The lengthy amount of construction photos showcase the sheer labor of building the space. Yet the images of studio visits with artist Bobby Howsare, planted a seed of expectation that didn’t pay off. Howsare is known for his pictured prints that play with optical illusions, moire patterns, and dynamic CMYK color phenomena. Construction documentation flowed beautifully next to this work. In context, this is the work I expected, but when entering “Co-Host” it was artist Kristen Walsh who commanded the space.

Walsh’s work was clean, sharp, and dynamic. Digital images that looked like a hybrid of Nintendo 64-style polygon environments and Google Street View–not far off from curator Lodwick’s own studio practice–were projected on mirrored objects. Each of these cut at sharp angles just like the game-like images being projected, allowing for the work to refract the light and create shimmering phenomena along the walls and ceiling.

3

Howsare’s installation showcased a flaw of close proximity. The piece was a dual projection of a 16mm film which viewers could see converging through a two way mirror. The gallery space is so small that the stark difference between these two artists’ presentations created more contrast than conversation. Maybe Walsh’s work not being previewed on Instagram allowed me to be surprised by lack of expectations, but I am definitely anticipating more out of the next two-person exhibition at 50/50.