5 Submerging in Eldorado
Like travelling south of the Thames or traversing the East River to get to Brooklyn, I took the highway out of Santa Fe to the La Tienda Exhibit Space in Eldorado to see 5 Submerging and listen to a poetry reading. There’s nothing like a poetry reading to make you feel completely submerged. After all, you can’t just get up and walk away. With nervous anticipation, I sat and listened to Andrew Davis soothe his audience with a slice from his germinated acoustic narrative, “Impluvium.” Davis spent ten years implementing its six different voices, which exist with few personal pronouns but gently intersperse familiar puns. His voices are tangled in cultures and caricatures with sounds like Spanish taxi cab drivers, and whispering gargoyles. Evocative of waking to the street sounds in a foreign country, Davis’ reading embodies dislocated and disseminated quotidian linguistic exchanges with the energetic hum of a Barcelona side street.
A point of entry to 5 Submerging, the word “impluvium” means a central courtyard or pool of a Roman house. It’s a gathering in of all that falls and La Tienda’s Exhibit Space is a collective watering pot comprised of these five artists’ works. Steeped and brewed like good tea, the work presented by Thayer Carter, Andrew Davis, Geraldine Fiskus, Dee Homans and J. Barry Zeiger breaks from the impartiality of mediation and collectively lends a stillness and simplicity, particular to a previous generation. J. Barry Zeiger employs ready-mades from a nostalgic past to playfully form his sculptures. A wooden hand saw becomes a fleur de lis sconce and a mid-century Americana task lamp/secretary intercom holds not a bulb, but a terracotta rock about the size of a golf ball. It dangles into the abyss just off the edge of the pedestal, confronting gravity head-on. Dee Homans’ figurative drawings in ink, graphite and watercolor look weighty and sculptural especially juxtaposed Thayer Carter’s rocky landscapes. Everything drops to the earth and becomes extremely grounded.
Homans’ Wolfowitz is 9’ x 9’ x 3’, taking up a good portion of the main wall. I stared at this throughout the poetry reading wondering about its corporal crimson tones and long intertwined rectangles that spawn like an oversized blood clot. About midway through Davis’ familiarly yet exotic word play, I decided that Homans’ piece was an extra large, entangled chili ristra. Up close, Homan’s piece is extremely tactile with a slightly waxy sheen and crispy surface. It looks dug-up from beyond the beyond and I think Wolfowitz must have been submerged somewhere before its installation in Eldorado.
Balanced across the gallery is Davis’ One Touch and the Meniscus Trembles. A meniscus is that slight curve on water’s surface due to surface tension. The piece’s title, comprised of 30 letters, was cast letter by letter onto the surface of 30 cement squares. Eventually, Davis hopes to show this piece submerged at the bottom of a pool of water. Imagining them through this reflecting pond, it feels like an oxymoron that these pieces could ever tremble. At 30-40 pounds a piece, they’re not shaking in their shoes any time soon. Then I realized, it’s the water that trembles, whose surface tension breaks with a single touch of its vulnerable watery surface. The core will never move and looking down at these massive, weighty objects I want to compare them to stone works of antiquity or the Ten Commandments. But then Davis specifically made them from cement, a material that will slowly deteriorate and disappear.