Barry Underwood at the Sculpture Center: Illusion and Installation
Last night I attended the opening at The Sculpture Center in Cleveland. Barry Underwood (who I teach with at the Cleveland Institute of Art), has an installation on view in the studioTECHNE Euclid Avenue Gallery.
In his photographs, Underwood transforms natural landscapes by combining elements of film, theater, light and land art into installations. This new installation is his first piece that is a temporary construction that can be physically experienced beyond the photograph. The work plays with illusion and reality and provides an engaging experience and insight into his photography process.
Many artists call works installation –but the focus remains on form. Underwood’s piece is a good example of a “true” installation. It is site-specific, temporary in its construction, and takes into account a broader sensory experience. Viewers have to navigate, look for clues, and explore to see the work. Similar to experiencing many of James Turrell works, the viewer has to seek out the work and navigate through a constructed space – while not exactly knowing what to look for or where to go.
In Underwood’s piece, the viewer navigates through two spaces –one in the front of the gallery which the artist called the “red space,” and the second space which is in the back. The work plays with perception and illusion – and is worth a view (or a walk/exploration.) The two spaces are a dichotomy between front and back; reality and illusion; and image and construction. I would love to write about what is in each of the rooms – (!) – but this would ruin the experience for those who have not seen the work yet.
The show is up until December 17th. One suggestion – make sure you remove your sunglasses before entering the work.