Through an installation of drawings, video and sculpture, Community World Theatre looked at quailities of light, as it affects artist and viewers, in a gallery landscape or dreamscape.
In a restaurant, the front of the house is where plated dishes are served, cloth napkins are folded, and crumbs are scraped. The back of the house is the place for bacon grease, broken dishes, and expletives. Going by this model, the two shows at Howard House, Illuminant by Yuki Nakamura and Community World Theater by Gretchen Bennett, are perfectly staged.
Nakamura's porcelain lightbulbs are pristine examinations of form. Affixed to the wall perpendicularly, these sophisticated shapes are to be examined from all sides. When viewed straight on, Diffuse Reflection becomes almost scientific, the bulbs flattened and organized like cells in an observation dish. Some works try to extend beyond their capacities, striving for the theatrical. Animated coils scroll across Filament Drawing. Illuminant (Pink) incorporates a pink, widescreen light box. But the shining porcelain bulbs alone are the most satisfying: They stand flawlessly composed, awaiting visual consumption.
Walking into Bennett's Community World Theater relieves the saturation of Nakamura's white environment. The first lightbulb in sight, tinted by a magenta gel, resides inside a stage lamp, the structure strewn across the floor. Beside it, clusters of mirrored glass scatter the bulb's reflection across the wall. Titled Nirvana (Skid Row, Ted Ed Fred, Pen Cap Chew, Bliss), this installation is simultaneously an alternate band name, a regional reference, and a street where logs slide into Puget Sound, among other possibilities. -Erin Langer
Photos: Steven Miller