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In 1964 Robert Smithson made a sculpture called Enantiomorphic Chambers that cleverly exploited our two-eyed nature to haunting metaphysical ends. Stepping between the two chambers, the viewer sees his or her image cancelled out by precisely coordinated mirrors, accomplishing Smithson’s task of “eliminating the consciousness that regulates binary vision.” Curators Kevin Regan and Christopher Howard have teamed up to turn NURTUREart Gallery into an entantiomorphic chamber of their own devising, though with a rather different aesthetic than Smithson’s. Noticing a simple iconographic trend in which a number of contemporary practices make use of reflected images, Regan and Howard have turned this underrecognized phenomenon into a full-scale metaphysical research project, complete with its own blog to document ongoing discoveries. The collection of work assembled for the show is both a testament to the varied creative possibilities of a single formal element, and to the potential of curators to create utterly unique artistic statements beyond the capability of any single work.
In the mind-bending essay written for the show, in their ever-expanding blog, and in the exhibition itself, Regan and Howard have staked out new ground for how curators approach the idea of curating itself, and provided compelling insight into a series of otherwise diverse practices. These practices include work made from reflecting human hair (Julie A. McConnell), athletes and pop-cultural figures (Mark Stockton), soldiers and cowboys (Elissa Levy), scenes of nature (Wendy Heldmann and Sebastian Lemm), human figures (Marc Travanti), fantasy landscapes (Jon Rappleye) and Led Zeppelin album covers (Gabriel Fowler). The diversity of subject matter is balanced by the unity of formal elements for a truly unique, consciousness-expanding exhibition.
As Regan and Howard cryptically remind us from the end of their accompanying essay, in a quote from Wittgenstein, “The solution to the riddle of life in space and time lies outside space and time.” Stepping into their enantiomorphic chamber provides us with a portal through which we might see some hints about this riddle
Nicholas Knight, “‘Enantiomorphic Chamber’ at NurtureArt,” Eponanonymous, March 1, 2008.
Cassandra Neyenesch, “Artseen: Enantiomorphic Chamber,” Brooklyn Rail (April 2008): 38.
Jerry Saltz, “Critic’s Pick,” New York Magazine, March 9, 2008 (online with slide show).
Adam Thompson, “Enantiomorphic Chamber,” Art Notes 20 (2008): 65.