From November 10th, 2015 through January 8th, 2016, BoxHeart Gallery presents The Watcher/The Watched on exhibit in our 2nd floor gallery featuring artwork by Carolyn Reed Barritt, Kyle Ethan Fischer, Irina Koukhanova, Danny Licul, and Sherry Rusinack.
When engaged with television or movies, watching is a passive daydream notion. The watcher leaves his or her daily life and engages without physical interaction. The watcher could be a caretaker, a nurturer lovingly watching “the kids” in a safe environment. Perhaps the watcher is sinister and active. An addiction is developed; a form of surveillance, a form of control. Time and motivation are important factors when considering the intent of the watcher. Is the watching a one-time voyeuristic experience or has it become a regimented, constant program? Is the watching altruistic in nature or does it exhibit power over that of which is being watched?
The exhibition, The Watcher/The Watched, explores not only the use of media but also the ability of the art object to examine the intent of the watcher and the experience of the watched. Whether contemplating their childhood, creativity, political strife, domesticity, or safety, the six artists in this exhibition intend to imbue a feeling that the viewer is too being watched. Introspection and intent cause a tension between the viewer and the artwork in this exhibition. As the viewer’s eye allows the brain to absorb visual information, the artwork recasts itself as a mirror in the minutia of reflex. Is the viewer the watcher? Is the viewer being watched?
A studio and scenic artist, Kyle Ethan Fischer recently worked as the lead sculptor on the motion picture production The Last Witch Hunter. His use of non-traditional materials, such as bones and dollies, is a response to the static act of viewing and an exploration into his artwork’s ability to challenge the power dynamics of the watcher and the watched. Multi-media artist Irina Koukhanova uses mythological figures of folklore to comment on, and explore the spirit of upheaval, in contemporary society. Drawing upon the archetype of the Pied Piper, Koukhanova’s bronze, wood, and ceramic installation Rattenfanger serves as a vehicle to reveal the dynamics of entrapment. Carolyn Reed Barritt’s sculptural “excerpts” reflect upon inhabitation and movement within an environment. Using wood, sticks, acrylic ink, and gesso, Barritt’s process is not only deliberate but also emergent as she contrasts a watcher and watched relationship based on principles of trust with a relationship based on principles of domination. Danny Licul’s tightly framed scenes of children with sock puppets depict the unmasking of personality. To facilitate this study, Licul built a scale model of the grammar school he attended and populated it with clay figures and furniture. He uses it like a movie set to construct his paintings from behind a lens: He is both the watcher and the watched. Working with a variety of historical ephemera, Sherry Rusinack’s artwork addresses the multi-dimensional constructs of individual and social privacy. Her artwork demonstrates how principles of privacy are dependent upon who is in a vulnerable position (the watched) and who is not (the watcher).