The Dallas gallery And Now’s straightforward and professional website documenting Brian Fridge’s exhibition (up through July 13) provides plenty of images for one to view. One might ask, “Why see it in person?” In response, I am writing to encourage exactly that directive.
Go see it so that you are immersed in the large wall projection and experience the grainy black-on-black unfolding within the dark gallery cube. The planetary phenomena revealed with choreographed editing may mirror our awe (such as when we looked up to see the recent blood moon eclipse) but, because it is contained in a frame, with other, successive frames, the intentionality is a narrative of sorts. Fridge’s narrative first feels guttural, of the earth and intuitive (Bernard Cornwell’s novel Stonehenge comes to mind) but it also speaks cinematically. I recall movie moments when, the camera’s eye (a person in hiding) pans the wall and shockingly a bright light appears. The bright light is also a phenomenon to the person in hiding — a thing, resonating. The longer the bright light resonates on the screen (and to the person in hiding), the more we are asked to ponder it. This sets up anticipation of the next thing to come or prompts a question regarding previous events. Various elements in Fridge’s video take turns setting up these quiet, minute scenarios.
I have always expected Brian Fridge to have enigmatic drawings (perhaps my own love of drawings coming through our discussions) and they exist in his notebooks and sketches. But they also exist in his (once-exhibited) array of tools and armatures used in the making of his videos. I have never thought to ask him what filmmakers he admires, but I should.
The phenomena of time or activity also resonates in Brian Fridge’s Sequence 21.1 (2012-2019).
Driving home, I recalled another collective experience from film, of an old, homestead water well. The bucket goes down into the well; the time, activity and sound that passes for it to bring up the water; the reflection of the water coming out of the well’s darkness. Although Fridge’s work has no sound, upon leaving the darkened gallery I definitely had a sensorial experience. The silence of being under water, in the swimming pool, then coming up for air, to the noises of life.
On view at And Now in Dallas through July 13, 2019
Lorraine Tady is an artist and professor at UT Dallas