C’ville Art Blog: An Outpost at Chroma Projects

C’ville Art Blog: An Outpost at Chroma Projects

The objects and contraptions assembled in the main gallery at Chroma Projects seem like props from a wild Terry Gilliam film. The sculptural collages are built from found materials, mostly things which look salvaged from roadsides or abandoned lots. Dymph de Wild has made the objects appear functional, meaningful, bizarre, and beautiful. Some of them even seem alive.

The show is composed of three distinct elements. There are several sorts of images hung on the walls, including drawings, prints, and photographs. The drawings appear to be scribbled plans or impressions of the objects in the room. The photographs are of completely different configurationsfor instance, a wasp nest filled with matches. The prints evoke collage, but are mostly layered blocks of color. While they are aesthetically interesting, they don’t feel like they concretely fit in the room.

There are two other prints which work fantastically within Wild’s installation, black and white warped gridded topographies titled, “Map of the World, no. 1” and “Map of the World, no. 2.” These prints contain a kind of urgency to capture and codify information, but the images themselves remain cryptic.

There is also a short video looping by one wall that depicts an individual scavenging materials from a rural area, dressed in an imaginative and illuminated costume of found objects. The video is a little odd. The sounds are eerie and appropriate for the space and the installation, but the scope of the video is small. The video seems like it was an opportunity for the artist to offer some exposition or the discovery of new details, but it instead simply reinforces the solitary navigation and exploration apparent in the objects. The video is interesting and curious, but timid in its content. One can simply turn around and see how non-timid the rest of the show is.

The third aspect of the show is the objects themselves, which dominate the space and contextualize each other. On one hand, Wild’s constructions are reminiscent of children transforming their surroundings, assembling objects into new configurations with alternate uses. On the other hand, they seem like objects from a post-industrial future, a dystopian society scavenging through the remnants and wreckage of crumbled concrete speckled landscapes. These two aspects of the sculptures work off each other, keeping the atmosphere lonely, serious, and playful all at once.

Walking up to the gallery, the sculptures in the window appear like a rudimentary campsitein use, but temporarily vacant. We viewers have stumbled into the space unwittingly and can only guess at the functionality of each specific part. Wild’s show delves into the immense and accessible pleasure of construction and invention, she de-alienates labor in a fantasy world of imaginative survival.

The show will remain in the main gallery at Chroma Projects through August 24.

-Aaron Miller and Rose Guterbock