Sharing an exhibition space with another artist comes with its own set of limitations for both the artist and the viewer. Unlike a solo show, the artist’s individual voice is forfeited in exchange for a weighing of the similarities and differences between two bodies of work. Trying to embrace this inevitable tendency to compare, I found that Andrea Donnelly and Heather Lewis’s work created an interesting dialogue about the relationship between light and subject, both falling into a bizarre aether of fine art, somewhere between drawing and sculpture.
Lewis’s work is heavily motivated by objects and the shadows they cast. She incorporates the aid of projectors and artificial light and emphasize the bizarre misrepresentation of objects like chairs and ladders by their shadows. She further explores this distortion by rendering the shadows in graphite on paper. In one installation entitled, DIY Projection, she encourages viewers to compose their own projection, using a handful of both translucent and opaque items from a grey bin and an old transparency projector. While the focus and of Lewis’s work was clear and concise, I wasn’t left with much enlightenment or desire to further investigate her focus. I will say the most compelling part of her space in the exhibition was a piece entitled, Gravity and Found Objects. This piece strayed from the rest of her work and instead of hanging from or projecting onto a wall, was assembled on the gallery floor, similar to the circular and temporary layout of a mandala. In this circular layout, she incorporates the stencilled silhouettes of gears, reels, and other circular mechanics varying in shape and size.
Like Heather Lewis, Andrea Donnelly incorporates the powerful graphicness of silhouettes, only instead of miscellaneous objects, Donnelly’s subject matter is rooted in the the human form. Sheets of hand-woven and dyed cotton hang from the gallery ceilings with a minimal use of textile pigment to shape the gestures and forms of figures. The most mysterious of the bunch, entitled, The Weavers Bench, shows the faintest murmur of a sitting figure, taking up a very small percentage of the overall composition. The role of white in relation to dark is a prominent theme in both this and the rest of her imagery. The darkness of the figure is defined by its relative space, even in her more representational imagery.