Material Witness at downtown’s Weston Art Gallery is all about the physical. The stuff of hardware stores — plywood, drywall, insulation — remains exposed in the work. If there’s a common thread, it’s the artists’ “careful and considerate material choices,” guest curator Matt Distel says.
But art is shaped from ideas plus materials. The viewer/witness also wants to see the message in the medium. Knock on wood, you will.
Creative ideas meet basic materials at the “Open Source Project Space (prototype),” a kind of backyard-theater set from Philip Spangler.
The nomadic structure, which Spangler built with Aaron Walker, is an extension of CS13, the recently closed gallery and performance venue they founded in Over-the-Rhine.
Cardboard walls fold down to reveal an 8-by-8-foot room that could be “an exhibition space, performance stage, reading room, information kiosk and store,” according to the literature in tubes hanging from the structure. Inside, three shelves fold out. A padded bench is the only furniture. It’s not much to look at, but it is a lot to think about.
Material Witness is on view through Feb. 26 at the Weston Art Gallery. Go here to read Kathy Schwartz's full review.