The nature of perception, the artist’s vision and viewer responsiveness is a topic that concerns all of art, in every facet, from every place and time, from every artist, and from every viewer. From a visitor to a gallery or museum in Salt Lake City to a pedestrian standing in front of a public sculpture is a piazza in Torino, Italy. The subject is one that is currently brought to the fore at the CUAC gallery with artists Jared Lindsay Clark and Makia Sharp, whose individual shows “Seer Screens” and “Passing” both question the notion of making and looking, and the transportation that is art’s reality known as “response.” The evocative art objects in both shows are such that cause the viewer to pause and to look, to then consider what they are looking at, and in the advent that they are sensibly connected to the piece, the phenomenon of transporting we call “responsiveness” is the result.
Lindsay Clark is an artist familiar to most in the region and beyond who are knowledgeable of the most forward or “on the cusp” of contemporary artists. Lindsay Clark is an artist to satisfy his audience on many levels, most significantly, the conceptual, intellectual and the sensory. Sharp has recently graduated from BYU with a BFA in painting, and her work will be a pleasing and a welcome experience for those who desire the most forward or “on the cusp” of contemporary artists. As it happens, although different in formal content and conceptual perspectival approaches, the pairing is a pleasing one, whose outer regions of philosophical leanings are in tandem, and one finds a synergy between the two after a thoughtful investigation.
Sharp’s installation requires less of a penetrative effort, and one might glean from her work this philosophical outer crust without too much effort and much pleasure. One of the most enjoyable of the show’s installed pieces is “Untitled,” 2014, Cast Quickrete Cement. At a closer look at what initially looks like a pile of stone rubble, are beautifully smooth and polished cast cement gem shaped structures of various sizes and dimensions. Already, the viewer, in an act of looking and considering, has been transported. A pile of rubble has been seen, and then a closer examination reveals what actually is. After this looking and consideration, for the viewer to see the beauty and find artistic appreciation in a pile of concrete, is a sensible responsive act of transportation on various individual levels.
On the wall above “Untitled,” 2014 is “Haze,” 2014, Mylar, photograph on Lasal (photographic paper). As one looks at the hazy yet transparent sheet of Mylar, one can see that behind it is a rectangle of lavender in the center seemingly floating. In the center, on the Mylar sheet, is a rectangular slit. Here, without the “haze,” one can see from the top that it is white, and towards the bottom the lavender has gradated to a pure hue. Here again, the viewer has looked, considered, and has been transported. Here the viewer has seen the Mylar and considered and looked through it, has seen the lavender and has discovered the pure hue. It is no incredible feat of perception, but a serene and beautiful symbol of the act of the elemental processes of viewer perception and responsiveness. What might be gleaned from this occasion, as is the case with “Untitled,”2014, simple as it might be, requiring only to look and consider, is the realization of truth in the act of transporting. The same can be said of all acts of perception throughout the installation.
As there is so much difference in each of Sharp’s installments, the task is a more apparent one. With Lindsay Clark, and a room of objects that transcend the boundaries of painting and sculpture into one, the dynamics are different, and fantastic. Each of his “Seer Screens” is a Styrofoam box with a glassy plane of lucidly colored transparent epoxy silicon resin. In the case of the polyptych “Primary Boise Sunset Set” 2014, there are a set of four like boxes, but the glassy resin is distinct in each. Here, one can see how Lindsay Clark achieves the most extraordinary color effects in resin as majestic as stained glass windows, yet without context, and purer. Here hues melt into each other in various schemes that cause an immediate connectivity with the viewer and the primordial human sensibility that thirsts for color.
As one begins to investigate Lindsay Clark’s “Seer Screens” and looks into each box, one find one’s self transported within a beauty contained therein; unlikely color and an apparent magic within each.
And certainly there is a bounty of magic in these “Seer Screens.” In theory, Lindsay Clark has conceptualized two ideas. Firstly, a contemplation of transcendental, mystical aspects of spirituality, and the second, a play on the phenomenon of computer and television monitors that permeate culture. And this may all be digestible to the cognition of the viewer, considering the fundamental act of perception, which allows cognition to occur, making full engagement possible. Looking, considering and transportation (responsiveness), in this case, is not a three-tiered process, but as mentioned, a momentary, immediate one as, “one begins to find one’s self transported within the beauty contained therein.”
The nature of perception and the artist’s vision as well as viewer responsiveness is a monumental subject that can be better understood through examples of the phenomena, as elucidated so poignantly here, in the case of Makia Sharp and Jared Lindsay Clark. We have seen how Sharp’s art is a direct allusion to this philosophical orientation, while for Lindsay Clark’s work, like all art, it is a fundamental aesthetic, achieved in a glance, a moment, and the viewer then focuses on issues relevant to perception that further cultivate sensible responsiveness for the viewer.