Invaded Spaces at Lehman College
Eighteen artists participated in the exhibit organized by guest curator Karin Bravin. Most used mixed media, and objects like silk, burlap, wood and steel in their installations. Artists mostly set up in the gallery rooms, but two pieces are on display in the garden outside in the front of the building. The conceptual works include lilliputian people inhabiting a life- sized kitchen in Halley Zien’s People and Lisa Kellner’s abstract silk blood cells in The Seepage of Proserpine.
Cooper is inspired by everyday objects and experiments with materials like Coroplast, a stiff corrugated plastic. Various objects make up her installation like a small igloo-shaped dome of a slurpee on the wall which reveals tiny raindrops when peeked into. It is elements like this that pique the curiosity and promote attention to details.
Across the room are Robert Melee’s and Abigail Deville’s spaces that remind people of home. Melee’s work is mysterious while Deville’s has her personal story attached. A green door in an orange frame stands in the middle of a dissected cabin. The tie-dye look of enamel is painted on the walls and ceiling panels as if to create the psychedelic home of a lumberjack, representing a wacky version of Melee. Next door, in a smaller connected space, Abigail Deville has created a chaotic underwater scene of a room made uninhabitable by debris. Blue tarp covers the jutting spikes of wooden planks in an attempt to conceal a spooky mold of the artist’s face bursting from a sofa. A television in front of the sofa is left on static to create an ominous atmosphere. Susan Hoeltzel, director of the Lehman Art Gallery, said, “The sofa belonged to Abigail’s father, and the picture near the front of the installation is a tribute of her grandmother who recently passed away.”
The art installations in “Space Invaders” also pay homage to the architecture of the Lehman College Art Gallery, which was designed by Marcel Breuer. A crocheted “dress” wraps the main pillar in the lobby in Sheila Page’s Fancy Dress for Marcel’s Concrete. Another artist created a plexiglass version of the same pillar, recreating Breuer’s inverted umbrella form. The installations utilize the structures in a thoughtful, collaborative way.
It is a testament to the artists’ talents that they can still express their ideas on an entire wall or ceiling beyond the traditional paint or pencils. There are no framed wall paintings or statues on marble slabs centered precisely in the middle of rooms. Instead, the installations peek out, climb up, and hang from spaces. This original exhibition gives the spotlight to oft-neglected space and successfully incorporates the gallery itself as a piece of art.
“Space Invaders” runs until January 9th at the Lehman College Art Gallery.
All photographs by Janelle Rose and Bruce Le