Wade Kramm’s Dotted Lines Transform Space, Challenge Perception

If you like to think of a house as a building with walls—or a window as a flat pane, or a table as a solid surface with legs—then you’re likely to feel disoriented by Wade Kramm’s experimental installations, now on view at Piero Atchugarry Gallery in Pueblo Garzón, Uruguay.

  • Installation view of “Fragments of Reality” at Piero Atchugarry Gallery

Kramm’s work is deceptively simple. The artist has been pushing the boundaries of installation since earning an MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, developing an intriguing hybrid of Minimalism and Geometric Abstraction. Here, he’s employed primarily tape: black electrical tape, by the looks of it, the kind you’d buy at a hardware store for home improvement projects. The artist uses this everyday material to block off imaginary planes and forms, creating the illusion of shapes and edges in what is otherwise an empty room. In some areas, lines run “off the page,” so to speak, challenging spatial perception—black wooden poles extend Kramm’s dotted outlines into space, beyond the hard edges of the gallery’s floors and walls. The effect is like walking into a life-size blue-print.

In the absence of captions or further explanations from the artist, the viewer is left to muse on what the shapes could be: a table, a doorway, a fireplace, or perhaps something altogether less concrete, like a shadow or reflection. “I am not creating any new forms,” Kramm has said, “only revealing the space that is already there…my work strives to compete with architecture, not by adding more materials, but rather through our perception of the space.”

  • Installation view of “Fragments of Reality” at Piero Atchugarry Gallery

Given the mind-bending effect of Kramm’s work, it’s only fitting that the exhibition is called “Fragments of Reality.” The installation is part of an ongoing series called “Dotted Planes & Dotted Spaces,” in which Kramm transforms space through minimal interventions like the application of segmented lines, in what look like descendents of Sol Lewitt’s “Wall Drawings.” “The dotted line,” the artist has said, “suggests that there is the possibility of infinite demarcations of negative space in an empty room.” The installations require one to view them not as a sum of their parts but as a summons to discover an imaginary world, and an invitation to question the very nature of reality.

Bridget Gleeson

Wade Kramm: Fragments of Reality” is on view at Piero Atchugarry Gallery, Pueblo Garzón, Uruguay, Jun. 11–Aug. 23, 2015.

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