Sometimes the world of art galleries can be a bit confining, pretentious and, well, quiet. Daisy McConnell is fighting that with the Galleries of Contemporary Art's newest downtown exhibit, Visual Environments.
By featuring the work of two Denver-based artists, Pattie Lee Becker and Suchitra Mattai, the gallery director is hoping to, at least for the night, engage visitors in an overlapping, multi-sensory show.
The pairing of Becker and Mattai makes sense when examining their respective use of pattern, line, color and, most of all, their mutual exploration of natural and man-made environments.
Which is pretty open-ended, but that's OK.
"There's not necessarily a massive overriding theme. It's not a message show," McConnell says. Instead, Becker and Mattai are both currently doing work creating mini-worlds.
Becker's series, "Powers of Ten," was inspired by the films of the same name by Charles and Ray Eames. Working on a macroscopic scale and traveling inward, each piece in the collection zooms in on part of the previous. Imagine the universe focusing into a galaxy, then a solar system, planet, city, household, body, cell, and finally, an atom — except done in Becker's own surrealistic way. "Each one is a world that you're zooming through — its own world in a universe," Becker says.
Mattai's work pulls from her travels around the globe. After visiting "e-waste" sites throughout Asia and Africa and seeing children harvest precious metals and reusable electronics from the dangerous landfills, Mattai was inspired to comment on the fluidity between man, nature, technology and identity in this age of rapid innovation and consumption.
"I try to piece together memories of disparate places, landscapes in which I've either lived or traveled in," she says, "in order to create imaginary scapes that have the feeling of a nondescript, vaguely familiar and yet unrecognizable place."
Visual Environments will also feature an accompanying music series, showcasing different musicians periodically through the exhibit's run. (See "Events" at galleryuccs.org.) The combination of visuals and sounds is designed to make for a unique experience at each showing.
"These artists work in layers. The music is adding a layer," McConnell says. She hopes that by combining each disparate element into a greater whole, she can push viewers to look even more closely at each piece of the artistic puzzle.
Says Mattai: "I feel that visual art should reach across into other disciplines, and that the experience of works of art need not be isolated or cut off from other forms of experience."