Fifteen artists have come together to use video, light, installation and mapping as means to critique their suburban culture. “Secrets of Suburbia,” a new multimedia exhibit that opens Wednesday at Wichita State University’s Shift Space Gallery, promises to spark conversation and artistic interaction.
“Secrets can be very melancholy or very shadowed,” said Kylie Brown, the co-organizer of the show and the person who came up with the concept. “Secrets can also be passion or drive as well, though.”
The exhibit is a joint venture between the gallery and Creative Rush, an organization founded by Brown to offer workshops and monthly talks where artistic Wichitans can share ideas and inspiration. Brown had been ruminating for a while on how to use the theme and title of the show, and decided that an art show would be the best avenue for expressing what she referred to as angst that she’s still working out. She invited artists with a distinctive style of being more bold or daring in their exploration of art to collaborate in the theme. The result is a show where wildly different tastes and styles vibe off of each other, fostering what Brown calls a much-needed dialogue between artists and creative thinkers.
“This show expresses a range of community interaction,” said gallery director Lisa Rundstrom. “As a curator I tend to be excited by cross-disciplinary exchanges that emphasize similarities within disparate artist groups. There are visual and psychological implications to the media itself, too. They lead the viewer into an immersion of space that literally alters their perception of reality in such a way that it allows them to become lost in the experience.”
The atmosphere promises to be dramatic and melodic, with a slow and calming techno edge to it. Sound and motion go on an interactive journey of birth, life, death and rebirth in an installation by John Harrison that uses lasers, a webcam, a computer and a projector to have custom software heighten the experience of touch. Kristin Beal aims to create a subtle moment of wonder and beauty in her decidedly low-tech shadow and light projection of an eerie tree with a perched swing set alongside a picket fence. Ian and Sarah Stewart will have a video-projection piece that weaves in clouds, building structures and shadowed people.
Though she hesitates to take on the moniker of artist, Brown has two pieces that speak heavily to the show’s theme. “Depth Containers” is a commentary on inner darkness, with two drum containers filled with 40-plus gallons of water having a light shining down on them with a frame box. Melanie Cloud and Rebecca Gordon each created 10 interactive slides that viewers can place into the light and see projected onto the water. Brown said that the idea is to have the viewer reflect on how each image plays a role into their personal story. In “An Incognito Display,” confessions are exposed on an LCD monitor that has been stripped of one of its key elements.
In addition to the artists’ pieces mentioned above, Rundstrom will have an interactive video work in the show, while Torin and Georgia Anderson, Patrick Calvillo, Brent Duncan, Jacob Riggs, Christian Taylor and Justin Miller also will be exhibiting works. The show will run for three weeks during normal gallery hours, including late Friday evenings and a Final Friday reception.
“This exhibit creates stories because it’s creating connections. I hope people are intrigued by the title and that the intrigue holds them in,” Brown said. “I want people to stay for a while. There’s a lot to see and do. This exhibit creates conversation. I hope people bring their friends back after they’ve seen it. This is the type of show that creates movement and motion.”