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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spacecraft Gallery: New installation by Craig Kane

Thursday night. Tonight is the opening of Craig Kane’s exhibition at Spacecraft Gallery and I don’t want to miss it, especially after listening to KPBS radio this morning: they talked about the exhibition and were very enthusiastic about it.

Little scenes are displayed on the wall. Tiny elements put together tell us stories. In the first room, the larger one, the scenes are overall rather small. In the smaller room the scenes are larger, but none really larger than approximately 25”. There is no title for the exhibition. There are no labels, no lists -- not even a pile of postcards. It feels light!

Small Wonders

A tiny bed with a green blanket/ the word “FUN”/ a tiny tire/ a photo of a town.
Lots of tiny overflowing boxes.
Bits, debris, pieces of things…
The word “THIS”/ a tree made of a small branch/ a picture of the sky.
A small branch makes a tree/a swing/ the word “SO”.
Tiny piles/ tiny paintings…
A blue star, a red frame, a man who looks at me…
A tiny yellow dog toy barking on a red carpet (or is it a stain of blood?)/ A pin on its back/ the word “LOVE”.

Everything is so small here and so delicate. I have to get very close to read the words, to see the elements. Discrete but powerful, small but strong. And there is a lot of humor too. This tiny ball of hair and the word “HUH” on top of it…

Publish Post

There is a larger piece: a potato-shape cardboard is hanging on the wall with lots of tiny lights blinking: it could be the map of the US, maybe the whole world… a word for each light: WE/NOT/HERE/$/?/WHY/NO/US... Each place on the map tries to catch our attention, each of them as important as any other one. At least that is what I see…

The words: “The last paintings” and under it a tiny pile of multicolored dust…

I am looking for the artist, I ask a cheerful-looking woman, and she tells me she is his wife! And she speaks French! So we talk for a while. I say I feel connected to the work, and ask her if the pictures -which are present in almost each little scene- were found somewhere. She says Craig took those pictures, all of them. “It’s us everywhere. Our images, our life.” She points to a patchwork of images (all about New York), and she says: “lots of those images were taken from the apartment we had for years in Brooklyn. Lots of memories here.”

It makes the work even more interesting. She is very sweet and introduced me to Craig. He is very nice, down-to-earth it seems to me, definitely there.

I say I missed the show last year (they talked about it on the radio this morning). Craig says that this year, there is a much stronger relationship between the elements, like between these words (he points to a piece next to him): "NO/US/TRUE…" The elements talk to each other more. And each piece has more elements too. I tell him that his work touches me; I like the poetry of it. It also feels very fresh.

I take some more time to look closely at some pieces.

ME/THERE/STATE/WHY/YOU… Things, photos, drawings, paintings, branches, pieces of a dollar bill…
Pixie dust/ NY pictures/tiny pieces of pink paper/plaster debris/a nail/an image of a double-deck bus…

The work has a political side, yet not overly proselytizing, perhaps because the work is so small: nothing can shout. You have to be so close to see what is going on. If you read the word “war”, it is like a silent scream.

It makes me think about my own work that suddenly seems SO heavy! My Large and heavy paintings! And also something occurred to me: except for the big map, Craig can travel with his exhibition in a suitcase!” That is so great!

And last but not least: the carbon footprint of the whole installation is close to zero!

When I go back home, I spend some time on Craig Kane’s websites (the new one and the old one), the new one opens on a long page about his trip to China, very interesting photos and notes

Tonight at the gallery there was also a nice surprise: the Flower Tree, a large ceramic piece by Matt Wedel was on the patio, magnificent! (see the post about Matt Wedel's exhibition at Spacecraft in this blog).

Spacecraft Gallery
2865 North Park Way
San Diego, Ca 92104
by appointment

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