June 2008

The artists deal with basic principles of physics:  tension, suspension, cantilever, and centrifugal force.  By incorporating physics in their creative processes, they will confront the viewers with conceptual or metaphorical associations regarding existing elemental forces.  Scientist, Cosmologist, Artist, and Magician will blend together in this show, providing viewers the opportunity to draw connections between their own so-called “knowns” and “unknowns.”   


By Leyland DeVito

Centrifugal Force, a show by recent Cranbrook Academy graduates centered around the relationship of physics and art, is open to the public for one more Saturday at the Russell Industrial Center. The show is curated by fellow Cranbrook graduate Madeline Stillwell and explores the various ways in which physics and art intersect.

 Each work of art involves the use of different forces in some way, from the deflated “Haikusarus” of Emily Lyman’s intricate ballpoint pen renderings to the counterbalanced structures in Abbie Miller’s “Odd Sympathy”. The use of forces adds something to the narration of the works of art; for example, Lyman’s drawings use the form of the deflated cartoon dinosaur character to elicit pity, while her tedious, elegant cross-hatching elevates the character.

The codependent support system in Miller’s sculptures almost looks umbilical— if the mother and child were entirely zipped up in black vinyl, that is.

Photographs from Masa Yukimoto’s outdoor cantilever bridge installation, “The Revenge of Tubism”, flank the walls of the space, offering two very different views of the structure. One side of the room shows the whole large, solid concrete bridge, made of a rigid geometry of modular cement cubes, while magnified detail shots of its soft, hand-sewn cushioning are shown on the other— seemingly one object is alchemically divided into two.

The interior of the Russell affords the works of art the space to sprawl and interact with their surroundings in surprising ways. Mara Baker’s “Even The Kitchen Sink”, for instance, uses siphons to draw neon yellow and green liquids through a looping series of tubes along the ceiling, slowly trickling onto the floor, which is paint-stained from previous shows. Baker’s creation is based off of similar machines she made that make their own artwork by splattering on paper, except in this instance the machine makes the floor of the room its canvas.


Last is Katie Hinton’s “Heinrich Heine Strasse, Berlin”, an installation piece that was started in her studio but modified to integrate more wholly with its new space at the Russell. It is at once disorienting, yet places the viewer firmly by reacting to the peculiarities of the space. A tube protruding from the wall entangles in a conglomeration that spans both two and three-dimensions, and includes a strange plastic ball, strips of vinyl tape, a glass panel, photographs of other artwork, and a painted stripe that leads the viewer around a corner, across the floor and up a beam where it dwindles off and mixes with the ceiling pipes of the building.

Centrifugal Force is open this Saturday from 1-5 PM and by appointment until June 21st at the Detroit Industrial Projects gallery at the Russell Industrial Center. The gallery is loacated on the 3rd floor of the second building. For more information, call 248.840.5117.



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