Yasuaki Onishi’s reverse of volume RG is the latest great installment in Rice Gallery’s 16-year-run of site-specific installation work. Onishi has used hardware store plastic sheeting and black hot glue to create an ephemeral and haunting environment. A horizontal network of fishing line stretches across the gallery ceiling, Onishi propped up the plastic with boxes to create mountain-like shapes and dripped the hot glue down from the fishing line. See from outside the gallery’s window wall, the results look could pass for some 14th century Japanese ink drawing. The effect is one of mountains in the rain. From other angles the installation appears glacial. And when you walk into the gallery and underneath the suspended mass, it becomes a hazy firmament. Knowing that the piece is created with such low budget and seemingly uninspiring materials only adds to the power. The show closes this Friday, July 27.
Rice gallery is a real gem on the Rice University campus. Internationally noteworthy, it’s hosted stellar projects from a mix of well-known and barely-known artists. Under the directorship of Kim Davenport, the gallery has shown the likes of Judy Pfaff, Yayoi Kusama, El Anatsui, Jessica Stockholder and Joe Shapiro (whose installation of brightly colored suspended forms pushed the envelope of the septuagenarian artist’s work.) The gallery has also sussed out and showcased young and emerging artists like Tara Donovan, Ball-Nogues Studio, Phoebe Washburn and Henrique Oliveira. Rice’s most recent young artist find was Ana Serrano. As they have done with many young artists, Rice gave her the technical and financial support to realize her first large-scale installation, Salon of Beauty, on view last fall at Rice Gallery. If you missed any of the shows, the gallery has great documentation on their site, including some wonderful videos.
This is your last chance to see an installation in Rice Gallery until next year when the gallery will feature Soo Sunny Park. This fall Rice University will host the traveling exhibition Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art in the gallery space in honor of Rice’s centennial. Get your site-specific installation fix while you can.