Friday, June 1, 2012

Tony Oursler

It is amazing how life draws circles around us.  Two years ago when I was a resident at Anderson Ranch Art Center, a group of us went to the gallery openings in Aspen including Tony Oursler's work at the Baldwin Gallery.  It was a large space displaying many intriguing works with video projections on sculpture.  I hadn't thought about his work again until I traveled to San Francisco to the Paule Anglim Gallery where he had a selection of miniature installations with videos and works on paper. The composite sculptures are mildly disturbing scenes made up of found objects and toys – intricately woven magical worlds, like Joseph Cornell boxes come to life. There are tiny video projections of heads speaking and naked bodies moving, flames leaping with barely audible sound dialogue clips.  They remind me of the Wizard of Oz movie when the wicked witch appears to Dorothy in the crystal ball.  The technology of multiple split screens emerging from a palm sized projector is impressive.

I also very much enjoyed the "Phantoms of Asia" exhibition at the Asian Art Museum, SF.  Works by 31 contemporary Asian artists are displayed alongside the permanent collection.  Many of these works explore invisible forces in the spiritual realm and connect the past with the present, across many cultural divides.

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