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Technically, It’s Art at Abryant Gallery

by Jared Weiss

Abryant Gallery is an online gallery. Its latest show (wait, show? How does an online gallery have a show? Let me elaborate. Abryant’s “permanent space” is online. That said, it also manifests physical shows at alternating locations. A true nomadic gallery you might say) is called “Technically, It’s Art” and was presented at 1842 North Damen in a fourth floor apartment gallery. If I counted correctly the show consisted of 18 artists with work ranging from video, painting (accompanied by neon lights), sculpture, and a sound/light environmental installation. The common thread: technology.

Andy Cahill "Every 15 Minutes"

Andy Cahill "Every 15 Minutes"

When I took my first steps into the show I almost ran face first into Briana Schweizer’s hanging chandelier piece “Famous Last Words: Charles Darwin”. Attached to an ornate base, Schweizer has etched 24 eggshells with Darwin’s last words “I’m not the least afraid to die”. Eggshells, Schweizer says, help to “communicate the transference of knowledge and the frailty of it as well”. Each eggshell is internally illuminated, becoming a fragile light projected into the future.

Eric Ashcraft "Still Life with Grapes" (left) and various videos (right)

Eric Ashcraft "Still Life with Grapes" (left) and various videos (right)

A different light came from Eric Ashcraft’s paintings. In the darkened apartment gallery you could readily discern Ashcraft’s neon sign of a shirt and tie (of which I saw about five in dry cleaning windows on the bus trip there). After a second I realized that this sign was attached to a traditional style landscape painting. This to me seemed to be commenting on the different natures of image in contemporary contexts, the sign as information bearer and sign as romantic experience, both of which seem to pervade our current mindsets.

Madeleine Bailey "Summoning Ground"

Madeleine Bailey "Summoning Ground"

Maybe it was because the show was overall low light that I was drawn to illuminated works. Gary Pennock’s installation “A Line Through the Center of Space” was in a separate low-lit room. The ambience was felt immediately by the recorded sound of a wine glass “singing”. At first I couldn’t tell where the sound was coming from. I placed my hand on what I thought to be a drink table and realized that there was a hole through its center from which a faint light (and the sound) was emanating. When I looked down into it I saw a band of oscillating concentric rings that produced the sensation of falling and/or being pushed upward. It was a visceral experience of which Pennock elegantly provoked light and sound to play on the senses.

Looking at work at Abryant

Looking at work at Abryant

The vast array of work felt very fresh and alive. The variety of 18 different artists and uniqueness of each work also dialogued (through the common source of technology) with the show as a whole and formed a distinct unity. In short, I would say to look for good things to come from Abryant Gallery.