Los Angeles

Jackie Greber

Molly Barnes Gallery

Jackie Greber, at Molly Barnes Gallery, is realizing dimensional biomorphics within Plexiglas boxes. Utilizing a method similar to that exploited by Zammitt and Rauschenberg, she is painting a portion of her configuration on each of four or five panels of clear plastic which are held overlapped in place as box constructions. Though a sculptural solid, the box is of little importance, for the illusion, a stereometric fusion, takes place in a fixed viewer position exactly in front of the front plane. Except as the illusion can be explained there is not much point to viewing the structures from other than the front. The spot is fixed, for the configuration is an oval mist down the center of which plunges a sharp, narrow tunnel back to the rearmost plane. Unless all the planes are exactly aligned, the illusion is not successful. I can think of no other work where fixed, two-eyed viewing of a single image, at a distance directly in front of the work, is such an absolute necessity. These works are unusual and demandingly frustrating exactly because of the control they exert. Further, one’s reward in the merging of the volumetric illusion is greater than in the power of the configuration itself.

Though probably the female sex organs are the most obvious subject reference, to describe them as a fuzzy-edged keyhole limpet (near in the middle, the center hole and outer edges deeper) or the trumpet bell of a blossom (nearer at the outer edges to deep at the center) is probably a closer comparison. It is easy to attach these biomorphic interests to Greber’s education in pre-medicine and the biological sciences.

The coloration is particularly sophisticated: pale tints (pink, blue, and yellowish), gold and silver metallics, with accents of pure bright blue, orange, and shadings of black. The paint is given as acrylic but because of the iced pearlescent qualities of all of the colors, one suspects other substances were coated or added. It may be that this jeweled or mother-of-pearl effect comes from the lighting situation, for even if the works do not already make enough viewer demands, one must dodge one’s own shadow. Each work is lit by a special projector, an absolute necessity to release the full spectrum of color. One must also then remain back from the work, behind the angle of this overhead source. Somehow the works magically sustain a delight, almost in spite of the limiting and encumbering set-up required to view them.

Fidel Danieli