I’m glad to see Laguna Gloria being used as an art spot within the AMOA-Arthouse dialog, but there still seem to be some issues to flesh out and aspects of the space that might need to be further understood.
The most recent attempt, ShapeShifting: New Methods of Drawing by Bethany Johnson and Ann Tarantino has moments of precision, but overall is lacking in execution. Between the two artists, Tarantino’s work is the strongest within the space, and fits best within the premise of site specificity and the intricacies of the space that the exhibition claims. The wall drawings scattered throughout the space by Tarantino are a fun, witty surprise, and Tarantino’s Future Perfect causes a beautiful visual in the space of the Tea Room. The light filtering through the laser-cut lines of the paper and into the space creates a beautiful, meditative moment to experience. However, I was sorely disappointed by the installation of the individual sheets of paper on the glass panes of the doors. The finite laser cutting is indeed in extreme contrast to its installation, which is not as clean and flawless as the piece requires.
While visually and conceptually beautiful, Bethany Johnson’s work doesn’t stand strong in the space or within the curatorial framework. The work is beautiful, but the exhibition could have worked without it. Matter of fact, the work would probably have been best suited outside, on the grounds of Laguna, rather than in the gallery space itself. Tarantino’s work was obviously responding to the gallery space, while Johnson’s focused on the surrounding habitat, and as a result, something was just a little lost in translation.
ShapeShifting is a funny little show. While it highlights Laguna Gloria as a bona fide gallery space, it also shows the complications of exhibiting in a space that isn’t necessarily a white cube or a blank slate (not to say a white cube isn’t loaded with its own complications). The show has its moments, and it has strong work, but overall I didn’t leave stunned or particularly inspired by it. Perhaps in this case it’s simply an issue of “less is more.”
ShapeShifting: New Methods of Drawing by Bethany Johnson and Ann Tarantino
AOMA-Arthouse at Laguna Gloria
Through February 17, 2013