Reno, NV 89501
Relationships. There is no simple description that can define them. They are extremely complicated, exceptionally rewarding—or not— but usually worth the give and take. They push us to better ourselves, they introduce us to new ways of doing things, and, at times, they even make us more determined to be alone. The exhibition Significantly Other, on display at the Sierra Arts Gallery downtown, offers some insight into the dynamics of relationships.
This exhibition focuses on seven couples—all artists creating individual bodies of work separate from their partners, although some of them have collaborated artistically before. Most of the artists chose to make new work that addressed the theme, some indirectly through process and others directly through content that speaks to the nature of their relationship.
“I don’t think my piece or Annie’s piece directly address the relationship at all,” says J. Damron speaking of his video and Annie Hooker’s painting featured in the show. “We saw it more as an opportunity to interact as artists. She’s a painter, and I’m a new genres guy, so we’re coming from different perspectives.”
Their approach to creating their work was to give each other “idea generators,” as Damron puts it, to spark their individual creative processes. Hooker gave Damron a photograph, and he gave her a piece of writing. Looking at their work in the show, the pieces almost fit together as a diptych—partially because they are displayed side by side. The red chair in Hooker’s painting seems to be waiting for something or to be a fragment of a memory, as does the figure in Damron’s video that fades in and out of the landscape.
Brian Porray and Kyla Hansen decided to try collaborating, which they hadn’t done before. They segued from thinking about the chemistry that happens between two people when they fall in love to how drugs affect the brain. Their piece, made up of tennis balls and wooden dowels, resembles a chemical structure and references Andre Agassi’s use of crystal meth.
“It’s funny because you’re so intimate with this person—you sleep next to them for four years—but you’ve never interacted with them in this way,” says Porray about collaborating artistically. “It was great—but we’ll probably never do it again.”
Another piece in the show consists of two chairs facing each other that sit on 8-foot-high legs. They are intended to be part of a performance that the artists Dominique Palladino and Bryan Christiansen will perform. The performance consists of a handfasting ceremony—a traditional wedding ceremony that requires the couple to join hands and bind them in some fashion. The precarious position of the performers mimics the highs and lows of a relationship.
Ashley and Eric Jennings created a piece called “Intuition” that addresses their different styles of interacting with the world. The piece is interactive, comprised of two hand-sewn dolls representing the artists that have light bulbs above their heads that glow depending on where the viewer is standing in relation to them.
Other couples in the show include Marian Studer and Kyhl Lyndgaard, Natalie Rishe and Bob Lukas, and Rob Brown and Christina Lee.
The work in the show is diverse—responding to the theme in a variety of ways that encompass many of the different symptoms of a relationship: drama, laughter, confusion, detachment and intimacy.