Critics’ Picks

Grace Weir, A Reflection on Light, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 21 minutes.

Grace Weir, A Reflection on Light, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 21 minutes.


Grace Weir

Laure Genillard
2 Hanway Place
September 30–November 18, 2017

“Light refracts through a prism into a spectrum of color.” This laconic observation from Grace Weir’s 2015 film A Reflection on Light articulates the premise of “Unfolded,” the artist’s exhibition here, which foregrounds her concerns with the manifold possibilities latent in perceptions of space and time. The show is bookended by filmic meditations on two breakthroughs in scientific history. The aforementioned work, a multifaceted portrait of Irish Cubist painter Mainie Jellett, is an examination of the perceptual, psychological, and social transformations that precipitated Einstein’s theory of relativity. Parallel, 2017, discusses the history of Euclidean geometry and the pathway to non-Euclidean geometry. Recounting formal axioms of points and lines alongside lucid visual demonstrations, the film muses on the imaginative potential released by freeing geometric abstractions from the page.

Spanning these pieces is an elegantly composed exploration of Weir’s artistic apparatus. In Dark Room, 2015, a two-channel film captures the artist documenting the decaying studio of nineteenth-century photographer Mary Rosse. This transgenerational dialogue between female pioneers is echoed by The History of Light (Betelgeuse), 2015, a suite of photograms that transform the materiality of photographic exposure into a metaphor for memory and historical influence. The video Script (2) Timeout with Albert, 2009–10, adds a welcome note of humor with a slapstick sketch of an inventor blinded by his own genius.

Training her lens on the archive with poise and rigor, Weir illuminates forgotten histories and alternate dimensions. If her formalism effects a certain disassociation, it is perhaps because it intimates another time where theory and material reality coincide.