CORINNA RAY & ANNA WEHRWEIN: One and Another
November 6, 2015—Gallery 1010, Knoxville, TN
If you suffer from chromophobia, then is was not the show for you. For that matter, you claustrophobes, too.
I felt lucky to be phobia-free on November’s First Friday, when I visited the two-person show One and Another at Gallery 1010. The rope-and-concrete floor sculpture that occupied the majority of the gallery’s small interior forced me to skirt the perimeter of the space, viewing the large wall pieces at a nearness that flooded even my peripheral vision with color. The opening’s high attendance pushed me toward sensory overload and upped the ante on maneuvering the space. Careful to avoid stepping on the art, I squeezed my way through bodies, hunting ideal viewing positions for the drawings and paintings along the walls. I left the gallery as if the door were a finish line, feeling exhilarated and not a little spent.
On Saturday, I went back. Even without all of the human obstacles, the space felt full. Now, though, at least I could stand on one side of the floor-net-barrier and look at the work on the wall opposite, to view one and another piece simultaneously, to pick over the elements that connect these two artists.
Of course there’s the saturation infatuation. Too, there’s a parallel treatment of space, not for volume as much as boundary. Anna’s paintings bulge at the borders and against the surface, so crammed with information that they read like litanies of objects—or of representation. I could study them for years and never get bored. Though I would never fantasize about inserting a part of my own body into the scenes—I can see there’s no room for that.
Similarly mindful of bodily boundaries, Corinna’s two sculptural works define a path through the gallery. Both her net and flags—planar markers of non-planar space—investigate surface and outline before volume. Triangles of canvas are carefully arranged to showcase their brightly painted side, the straight stripes of their dulled margins curling into airy ringlets. And the pattern of rope, hugging flatly to the floor, ends at bisected spheres whose cross sections are screaming orange.
For all their formal attention to crispy colors and edges, I suspect that these two artists are both interested in a softness of subject and the subject of Softness. None of the work in the show offers a message that’s hard and tangible, but all of it seems to be illustrating the power of soft touch. In the literal depiction of softness: a pile of clothing writhing with colors and brushstrokes. In physical form: fabric flags that curve into themselves and one another. In manipulation: of the order and distance of viewing. In the harvesting of evidence: a framed rubbing. In construction: rope delicately joined by colorful wraps. In ownership: archiving all the belongings that fill a private space—an inventory of everything within reach. In maintenance: a sculpture to be stepped on, allowing the artist to handle her work again and again — never relinquishing her grasp.
One and Another asks us to consider tactility as something complex, loud, commanding. It presents softness as though it were not associated with weakness.
Leaving the gallery the second time, my hands moved from the brass knob to my ribs, where I let them slide down the fabric at my waist, over my hips, and down to my sides, swinging freely through the air as I walked to my car.
Corinna Ray (Sculpture) and Anna Wehrwein (Painting + Drawing) are both second-year graduate students in the School of Art at UTK. Their two-person show One and Another opened on November 6th at the university’s student-run Gallery 1010. More examples of their work can be found at corinnaray.com and annawehrwein.com.