Oblique Phases at Walter Maciel Gallery extends Barry Anderson’s ongoing series of immersive digital animations, introducing audiences to new forms of conceptual audio manipulation by this Kansas City based media artist.
FTwo new iterations of Fragments of Space (2015-present) are being shown. Oblique Phase [Prime] and PyraLax shift and shimmer with kaleidoscopic symmetry. Coolly rendered low/no chroma forms diverge and drift through a spectral haze and then come careening back inward, converging at the center of the frame. Viewing the large-scale projection of Oblique Phase [Prime] feels like falling diagonally through shards of shattered space while anxiety is held at bay by the crystallographic balance and calming chiral symmetry of the composition. The experience of PyraLax is that of looking outward from the center of a spinning prism. The result is hypnotic. I am reminded of the films made by John and James Whitney in which technologically generated mandala like images shift and slip in time around a center that is holding steady.
Personaphase adds a new layer to the already staggeringly rich and complex ongoing work that is The Janus Restraint. Over the course of six years the artist has created a constellation of objects and images that, when taken together, comprise a portrait of the liminal and transitional nature of childhood and adolescence. The work as a whole is filled with intertextual references to mythology, mysticism, and mid-century experimental modernism. In Personaphase, we see the young subject as fragmented and disintegrating. The figure is made of many tiny pieces that are continuously being reassembled and then scattered across the frame. The Janus Restraint deserves a book, or at least a long form essay. The deep importance of these works go well beyond the scope of this document. Please, someone give this man a monograph.
Music is conspicuously absent from these instantiations of The Janus Restraint and Fragments of Space series. In the past, Anderson’s animations have been accompanied by electronic ambient/psych soundtracks contributed by a variety of collaborating musicians. Here the works slide and flicker silently in the darkened space. The artist is currently composing and recording a body of his own music that perhaps we will hear in future manifestations of the series.
Where the viewer does encounter music in this exhibition is in the two tightly conceived audio sculpture, 1969 Side A and 1969 Side B. Each work is comprised of a wood framed box with the year 1969 etched into its mirrored face. Emanating from somewhere within the box is the chaotic sound of many songs being played simultaneously. The audio is a laying of tracks from 50 12” lps pulled from the artists personal collection. Each record was released in the year 1969, the Year of Anderson’s birth. The boxes each measure 12”x12”x6”. The size of a stack of 50 records.
The works in this exhibition pulse between the poles of slick surfaced cool detachment and poignant autobiographical expression. Optimism and wonder are tingling with a sense of questioning and criticality. Anderson’s meditations on our technologically mediated sense of self and place are conceptually airtight and clearly evidentiary of an artist whose practice is deepening as it rises to new heights. Barry Anderson is expanding.
Walter Maciel Gallery
2642 La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034
27 April – 22 June 2019