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Monday, January 9, 2012

"Disrupture" Exhibit Lacks Power to Disrupt

Posted By on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:30 PM



Jan. 7, 2012

icTus Gallery

With a new year upon us, it's easy to look back at the disruptions of 2011. Some prevented us from completing things, while others induced chaos. When reflecting on such changes, it's almost exciting to consider what new disruptions of 2012 will inevitably break up the everyday ennui and encourage us to do something different.

Unfortunately, the show "Disrupture" that opened at icTus Gallery on Saturday didn't live up to its weighty title. While the artwork was interesting and the crowd lively, the show taken as a whole lacked zest and failed to encourage much real thought on such an epic theme.

"Disrupture" features three artists: C. Ree, Heather Sparks, and Jenifer K. Wofford. It claims to be a "multimedia display of the unraveling of society's systems." Instead was a rather flat showing of some visual art as well as an installation and two video monitors. Individually, these works could have held their own weight, but thrown together to create the facade of a beefy show, they lost some of their individual power.

  • Jenifer K. Wofford

The ink and acrylic works on paper by Jenifer K. Wofford were particularly powerful. Through visual representations of a volcanic eruption, Wofford displayed the ephemeral quality of a natural disruption. The varying points of views at imagined intervals throughout the big release recalled Katsushika Hokusai's The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, part of his "36 Views of Mount Fuji," which is often assumed to be another study on natural disruption (in this case, a tsunami).

C. Ree's Overhead
  • C. Ree's Overhead

Though the installation by C. Ree, Overhead, covered almost half of the gallery ceiling, it was ultimately underwhelming. The photograph of the piece on the icTus Gallery's website was much more powerful, as it encompassed the whole ceiling space and provided no "sidelines" for viewers to rest their gaze and escape the unnerving unraveling.

It did create another level and force attention to normally ignored area that can be a good way to enhance an art exhibit and give viewers a neck workout, but really the piece demands more surface area or no other piece obstructing its effect simply by being present.

Heather Sparks' Big Return Project is a worthy concept -- a study on consumption by asking a group of shoppers to buy things they really wanted but then return them at the end of the day. Yet by simply displaying a video of people returning items during the holiday season and mounting a monitor that pointed to the artist's website it flopped. In an age where most of us have our own computers and video devices, why just do more of the same in a gallery? The theme of the project is presumably about disrupting zombie consumer behavior, but one way to be more visually stirring and engaging might have been displaying the purchased items themselves -- yet to be returned -- as well as the individual stories from the website.


An unexpected supplement to the exhibit was sitting in the backyard garden sipping a surprisingly good $3 glass of wine and looking at a nearly full moon. It was a delightful way to spend the first Saturday of 2012.

"Disrupture" continues through Feb. 17 (when a closing reception begins at 6 p.m.) at icTus Gallery, 1769 15th St. (at Albion), S.F. Admission is free.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Stephanie Echeveste


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