September 16, 2005
"Bit Logic" group show at G.A.S.P., review by Cate McQuaid
''Bit Logic," a group show at GASP, grapples with the giant topic
of what signs, symbols, and imagery mean to us. That's the stuff of art
itself, so we're diving into meta-interpretive realms here. But the exhibit,
curated by Jennifer Schmidt and Chantal Zakari, pulls it off in a small
space, making pleasing visual and conceptual connections along the way.
Schmidt and Christine Tarkowski each riff on the medium of design. Tarkowski,
reflecting on how we become inured to our wallpaper, has covered gallery
walls with white paper that has been shot repeatedly with a 9mm gun and
hammered in with giant nails. Schmidt's beautiful cut-paper piece ''Waterlogged
1916-2005" uses a lacelike design to suggest a river and waterfall.
Her accompanying video alternates a waterfall scene with the rushing pattern
of her own cutout images.
The pairing of handmade and digital shows up elsewhere as well. Zoe Sheehan
Saldana makes cross-stitched portraits that look as pixelated as any low-resolution
digital image. Zakari and Mike Mandel have recently been making art exploring
the public/private intersection of sex chat rooms, and they've blown up
a scene they found on the Internet of a couple engaged in oral sex. Turned
into a mosaic of 1-inch tiles and mirrors, it fills a wall. The work is
disturbing and powerful -- a beautifully crafted depiction of a private
moment put on display.
For light relief, but no less pointed commentary, look to Heidi Cody's
prints, Audubon-esque studies of wildlife in which bright plastic objects
morph into birds. ''British Flamingo" puts a pink squeeze bottle
on bird legs to create a haughty-looking creature.