One of the neat things about Volta is that galleries are allowed only one artist per installation. This makes it feel more like an exhibition and less like a trade show. From the viewer's perspective it certainly eases the fatigue of art-fair visual overload, and hopefully it presents the taste level of the gallery in a more accurate light which ultimately attracts longterm collector interest---right? This may have been the reasoning behind the galleries that chose to display, er, shall we say non-commodity oriented work.
There was a cool 'contraption' aesthetic to a lot of the work--and a lot of really great video installation pieces. Here is a look at some of them. I shot the video with my cell-phone which accounts for the appalling production values.
Ian Burns @ Spencer Brownstone
Ian Burns creates inventive, self-contained cinematic scene-generators made from kitchen-sink contraptions comprised of ironing boards, folding chairs, dirty plastic cups, electric fans, spy cameras and other off-the-shelf consumer junk. The sculptures are hilariously unwieldly mechanical assemblies that are notable in their use of plastic bags as a visual stand-in for arctic landscapes. Can you see the model plane 'flying' through the clouds?
Peter Sarkisian @ I-20
'Extruded Video Engine' is a rear-projection piece ingeniously mounted and seamlessly presented; it consists of hundreds of clips composited together to intelligently conform to the contours of a 3D vacuum-formed sculpture. It had a retro, slightly carnival-esque Dada feeling, like peering into the workings of a 50s sci-fi mechanism or behind the curtain of the Mighty Oz; the pistons, gears, and whirlygigs are obsolete gadgets that were allegedly filmed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Another crowd-pleaser here.
Pietro Sanguineti @ Nusser&Baumgart
These videos really caught my eye. Sanguineti incorporates the style of broadcast graphics to create time-based explorations of single word imperatives (which he also creates as text-based sculptures, see side); in the central, newest piece, he cuts snippets of computer-generated footage from video-games, commercials, and other sources to comment on the complex representations of 'nature' in our heavily mediated visual culture.
David Ellis @ Roebling Hall
Brooklyn action-graffiti painter David Ellis does a 180 from the Barnstormers work we know and love and presents these fascinating junkyard honky-tonk percussion sculptures. Tom Waits should be howling over them, I think. I didn't get a good shot of the clanging mound that the large bird is flapping in front of, but it's actually a giant craft-fair owl formed from beer bottles and metal mesh. The video loop is a teaser of an upcoming film of slow-motion paint spilling, I thought it was a long form computer rendering of fluid dynamics. Speaking of which, David is doing a week-long live painting performance at the Theory flagship store in the Meatpacking District, check it out til April 3rd.