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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Static Motion’ more than white noise

    Static Motion more than white noise

    The less-than-prominent placard naming the Lionel S. Rombach gallery leaves little room to wonder how many of the Eller College of Business undergrads are even aware of its existence when they meander past it day after day. This is a shame because the gallery is housed next to the University of Arizona Museum of Art and the Art Administration building, a few short steps from the Speedway Boulevard underpass. Currently the exhibit on display is an installation piece by Chika Matsuda, a fine arts graduate student.

    The gallery’s entrance is underwhelming, to be sure. The visitor has to walk past the open door of a confusingly cluttered office to find the Lionel S. Rombach gallery. The floors are cement, the paint is not quite white and overall the space feels relatively blank, that is, if you are looking at the walls and not at the work.

    Fortunately, Matsuda’s piece draws her audience’s attention away from its surroundings almost instantly. Originally, it was titled “”Blank Spaces”” as a reference to the negative space between the white pillars that make up the basic structure of Matsuda’s two-part sculpture. However, as the artist’s process and physical work changed, her concept underwent subtle changes. This slow metamorphosis resulted in a striking and thought-provoking installation, now titled “”Static Motion.”” This title speaks to the nature of the artistic process.

    As luck would have it, Matsuda happened to be in the gallery when I made my way in, though upon first glance it was impossible to tell whether she was making meticulous aesthetic adjustments, or simply in charge of changing the light bulbs in this student’s display space. She teetered atop a tall metal stepladder, engrossed in the angles and shadows playing across the floor and across her piece. I almost couldn’t bear disturbing her. However, her sheepish nod in response to the question, “”Are you the artist?”” showed she was merely startled.

    “”Static Motion”” touches on life and on the interactions between humans and nature. Two parts to the sculpture consist of 16 rectangular white columns, one set of plaster and the other of wood. From the entrance, the halves appear identical. As you draw nearer to one, however, it becomes apparent that something vital has been removed; the top of each plaster column has been cast around a hollowed eggshell. This vacancy is a representation of the absence of life – an indication of transcendence, of moving on.

    The second piece of Matsuda’s exhibit is more kinetic in nature. It brings about the “”motion”” in “”Static Motion.”” Again, 16 white pillars are arranged diagonally across the room from the first set. A soft whirring undercurrent of sound accompanies a subtle stirring; the tops of each column quiver almost undetectably, defying gravity in slight suspension. The sculpture moves and shifts and breathes, paying respect to the evolving and wavering balance of life while calling back to mind the image of an artist lingering shakily, yet determinedly, atop a stepladder.

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