For those experiencing The Shoebox Gallery for the first time, a common response might be, “Ohhh, that’s it?” Exactly, that’s it, and that’s what makes it great. The storefront display space is part gallery, part street art venue and continues to spark a visual dialogue with anyone that comes in contact with it. Curator Sean Smuda’s ten year run at bringing quality local artists, literally to the street, speaks for itself.
South Dakota artist Molly Wick’s new installation has it’s own blurred line agenda that challenges the age old definition of painting and what it can do. Drawing from a biology background, the artist’s amorphous shapes start as a mimicry of fungi, but end as a study of light and hue. Most interesting is the play of color that reflects off the wall from the backs of the carved plywood constructions and peers through the holes throughout the forms. Somehow these works recall electronic light artists even though they are independent of their own powered illumination. It’s easy to imagine that the fungi forms are just the beginning of a larger installation that could expand upon the process of layering light, color, and form.
While the highlight of the work is the reflected hues, an introduction of layered translucent materials seems like a natural progression. A tension exists between the wall, the pieces, and the viewer that brings one to ask, are these works really painting, or should they exist solely in three dimensional space? Wick’s pieces are a perfect fit for a venue that continues to challenge the idea of where to display art.