Christine Buchsbaum and Shannon Kelly

Christine Buchsbaum "Conceiving a Forest Floor"
Christine Buchsbaum
“Conceiving a Forest Floor”

-written November 3, 2013

Christine Buchsbaum & Shannon Kelly

Christine Buchsbaum and Shannon Kelly’s works Illuminating Dark Corners, 2013 and Wake, 2013 entail a kind of compression. As if wearing a tight corset the work spills out each end (though not to be confused with the big bang associated with a plastic flow). The end results are less forceful- more like soft equivocations.

Buchsbaum’s newest series of work, Illuminating Dark Corners, comprised of 6 large-scale photographs of idiosyncratic performative scenes, swing between interior and exterior but are linked through references to earth and water that act as slight coverings or allude to displacement.

Different from most artists whose performative works may yield hours of documentation, Buchsbaum typically only exhibits one photograph from each choreographed set. That may seem too reductive for many as, seen in the work, Conceiving a forest floor, 2013 there’s a large amount of planning, labor and production that goes into the one large photograph. 

Buchsbaum has constructed a small pink house that is larger than a child’s play house but distinct from a shed. It’s just too sweet with sod and what is that? Orangish shag carpet? No, the pristine newly planted sod on the outer limits of the structure make the inside come aglow with an orangish hue. On each side of the asymmetric composition is the debris from the logging operations. The artist fleets through the back of the scene wearing a bright blue gown.

Each photograph, when set in a series of other arduously fabricated scenarios, represents a slow leakage of valuable information becoming both about separation and distinction. Distinctions where place and time, whether referencing the slow tick of being held below water, encapsulated in an ice cave, or in a forest thick, time doesn’t necessarily move easily. Buchsbaum’s process is akin to a squeezing an indefinite, a thing, that moves as easily backwards as forwards.

Shannon Kelly, a filmmaker and video installation artist, uses space to create Wake. A short video document taken outside of a hotel on a trip to New York builds up movement from sky, clouds, building exteriors. As cars honk and a police siren screams the images fall in closer to windows and doors and then interior ceilings.

Skewed perspectives accentuate a sense of off-balance that is furthered through his installation choices. The box on the ceiling holds the flat television screen where the video looped over and over. Directly underneath is a box with a still reflecting pool mirroring the video screen. The edges of the installation are softened with the inclusion of the thick green surrounding hedge.

In the darkened room the ambient light from other rooms allow the colors from the video to vibrate onto the walls and the water below. Occasionally the sounds from the video caused a slight tremble on the water drawing the eye and pushing back and forth.

This perspective of looking up and around with the video camera is awkward. Here’s his naïveté. Kelly cranes his neck up and around to really see where he’s situated. Yet, this only exists with the aid of a camera.  The body or head can only produce these tweaks right before the fall down a hole.

-Theresa Anderson


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