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Get to the Wex To See Gray Matters - by Anne Marie

Gotta Get to the Wex to see Gray Matters!

Those of us who live in Columbus (is Buckeyes the only collective word for us?) are so lucky to have such a vibrant music and arts scene providing a giant ever-changing playground for our personal entertainment.

Probably my number one go-to source for entertainment is the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.  The Wex rocks! Every month when their calendar of upcoming events comes out, I can't possibly fit all the exhibits, films, theatrical and musical acts onto my calendar.

On exhibit now, but only for a few more days, until July 30, is Gray Matters. To me, the title of this exhibit was a little off-putting. It sounded a little boring. Gray matters. Dull, gray matters. Or, possibly worse, boring and cerebral. I already sometimes have difficulty figuring out what the heck some of the art at the Wexner Center even means. I wasn't sure I was up to an exhibit called Gray Matters.  

Luckily, last Thursday night, I threw caution to the wind and visited the exhibit and discovered that I could not have been more wrong! Gray Matters may be an exhibit showcasing 37 women artists who have produced art while limiting themselves to a palette of black, white & gray but the similarity stops there and the art is NOT BORING AT ALL!! I saw everything from paintings and sculpture to a disco ball made up of every known image of a solar eclipse ever recorded by humans to a video set in a morgue where the victim of a suicide and her animated organs and her ghost debate their demise.

Also luckily, there is a small but mighty exhibit guide that is free and readily available in various stands throughout the exhibit. The guide has concise, helpful details about each work. I walked through looking at each work, appreciating it at face value and trying to figure it out on my own. Only then would I read the guide and see how close (or sometimes far off!) my interpretation was from the artist’s reality.

Here are just a few of the pieces that you can experience if you get into the Wex in time to catch this great exhibit.

 

Lorna Simpson Left, Right, Black America Again (2016)

Lorna Simpson Left, Right, Black America Again (2016)

Rachel Whiteread Untitled (Cast Iron Floor) (2001)

Rachel Whiteread Untitled (Cast Iron Floor) (2001)

Tara Donovan Composition (Cards) 2017

Tara Donovan Composition (Cards) 2017

Each of these was a surprise to me in that there was so much more to them - in either artist intention/representation or technique - than immediately met my eye.

Untitled (Cast Iron Floor) is literally a piece of art on the floor and, unlike other usable pieces of art in the show such as tables, this one does not have a sign asking you not to touch the art. But I was still deferential and walking around rather than over the piece until called out by a burly security guard who instructed me to walk on it, adding that he does every day. I did and it was a strange feeling to trample upon something that an artist had created. It felt solid and I felt grounded while walking around and over it but wasn’t sure I was experiencing quite what the artist intended. Upon consulting the guide, I learned that artist Rachel Whiteread’s casts “materialize negative space...mummifying the air in the room and making it solid, transforming these voids into masses of memory and loss.”  Wow.  That merited another slow walk across while I pondered that some more.

I'll leave it to you to uncover the secrets of the other two - and the remainder of the works - if you make it to the Wexner Center by July 30th. Click here for more details.  #theWex #leapintotheWex #womenattheWex  - Anne Marie