Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

Structural Patterns

Reflections on Art, Technology and Society

Kara Tanaka at Simon Preston Gallery

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Kara Tanaka

Kara Tanaka’s “Crushed by the Hammer of the Sun” is simply cool and mesmerizing. Thursday afternoon I had some time to kill in the Lower East Side, so I stepped into Simon Preston Gallery on Broome Street where there is currently a two-person show featuring Marco Rios and Kara Tanaka. I was immediately drawn to a silver spinning disc on an exposed mechanized pedestal at the back of the gallery.

Kara Tanaka

The first gallery had a few sculptures by Marco Rios: a giant yellow level leaning against a wall, a little elphin blue man holding his knees sitting in a corner sculpted from the anti-depressant drug Paxil and small non-descript metal pieces on shelves. The sort of work one expects to see in a gallery representing young artists who have been influenced by the likes of Charles Ray and Tom Freidman, really not very interesting or exciting, because we are so familiar with it and know it is merely contemporary art, not much more than objects that will hopefully be bought and sold…

But the spinning disc at the rear of the gallery isn’t clearly such a thing. It is a kinetic object that requires one to spend time with it, study it, and wonder what it is. That is until it stops spinning and one discovers it is a silver fabric on the exterior and tan, brown and pink fabrics on the inside that only become apparent as the mechanisim lifts the spinning disc of fabric and seperates the exterior and interior layers into an oblong UFO like shape. The beauty of the work isn’t that it is kinetic, but rather the manner in which it all comes together – a simple silver fabric being spun into a disc that immediately makes one think of a UFO, the use of speed and spinning disc helps to mesmerize the viewer. It’s a poetic work that doesn’t fall short of its title “Crushed by the Hammer of the Sun” which implies a heroic narrative. Of course it helps to walk into the gallery while it is in mid-spin and the material and shape are transforming, and then I had to watch it a second time.

Written by ricardo

May 24th, 2008 at 2:25 pm