The name of the show is Invisible City, and Baltimore is lucky to have it a while longer (the show began on Nov. 16th and ends on Jan. 5th) before it gallivants off to Switzerland for the original Art Basel this Spring. This is what I love about our city, we have so many world-class artists living amongst us, offering FREE events practically every night of the week. Sadly, they often seem invisible to the vast majority of our City’s residents. I can say this because the room was virtually empty last night for Jenee Mateer’s talk about her work, which included sculptural pieces (towers of miniature boxes constructed of encaustic processed works on paper), a large-scale video installation, slick faux ipads, images of billowing clouds, a well of cast off cell phones, and hand traced year book photos.
Although I’ve tried my best, this description doesn’t do the work justice, and the conversation we had in the gallery about her statement through this work was both fascinating and enlightening but virtually impossible for me to recreate here. Instead I’ve shared a partial statement from Jordan Faye Contemporary, the gallery that represents Jenee (found below). Art reminds me that if you can imagine it, almost anything is possible, and I wish I knew how to inspire this experience in those who have not yet discovered this passion of mine; especially when the art speaks about things almost all human beings alive today have in common through the shared experience that is our short time here on earth.
Originally, just the title of Italo Calvino’s book, Invisible City, served as inspiration for this body of work. I was thinking about Facebook, cloud computing, ipads and electronic games in relation to this idea of a place with no tangible location that is nevertheless very ‘real’. As I read the book I began to make even more connections. Calvino speaks about the slippery shortcomings of language and cities as endless happenings, where the distinction between inside and outside is fuzzy at best. He speaks of cities within cities and cities where the present is a simultaneous reflection of the past and present, cities formed by desire and perpetuated by it. He speaks of cities overwhelmed by their own detritus and cities constructed like an intricately woven, patterned carpet. He writes “The catalogue of forms is endless; until every shape has found its city, new cities will continue to be born. When forms exhaust their variety and come apart, the end of cities begins.” And so it is with new technologies, new toys and the cities they create.
PS. Speaking of Art Basel, the art fair by the same name in Miami is currently underway. Here’s a video I created from my experience there last year. You’ll notice Jordan Faye Contemporary was there as well: