Off By smcdx

(selected portions of a review of “Locations” show at the Rose Art Museum, Brandies Univ.) (Artists: John Christian Anderson, Christopher Sproat, and Hera)


Although they are fundamentally different in their sensibility, they share certain common characteristic ties?  a feeling for illusionism and ritual.

When I say illusionism I don’t use the word in its customary sense ? an illusory reproduction of a natural object.  Sproat’s is an illusionism of space; his work upstairs presents a ribbon of horizontal red-orange light, which expands through window reflections into the woods around the museum.

The sculptures upstairs contrast interestingly with those in the more enclosed space is below.  Sproat’s has grandeur.  The wall is huge, a gray field of gestural charcoal-like strokes looming as a ground against the delicate filament of horizontal tubing with its intense color and electrical supports.  The color of the tube radiates into the surrounding space, refracted by the glass cases and windows.  The effect is one of impressive scale?

If openness is a stressed upstairs, all three sculptors have elected to regard to the lower floor as an enclosure ? a crypt.  Here the mood is eerie, claustrophobic.  Sproat’s piece is rigid and hierarchic, a matte black wall punctuated by vertical chill blue neon, the glossy black fixtures mixed with transparent plastic boxes containing fragments of bone.  The boxes and their fossilized contents and two flanking wooden structures ? which could be very high narrow thrones, but are non-functional as furniture in a pyramid’s tombed chamber ? supply n unusual dimension.  Sproat is an artist whose formal elegance is plugged into technology; in this piece he takes a fresh, unexpected direction.