San Francisco

James Reineking

The James Reineking exhibition at the Quay Gallery reveals a consistent development in his art. He has almost abandoned the moire-causing veil which represented the humming sound emanating from within as a visual symbol, the single draped veil in this show being attached to a tube coming out diagonally from the wall, and the veil coming out of a curving slot in the tube rather than the tube hanging in the veil. The tubes are no longer metal but plastic; the ends reveal a thickness whereas the metal tubes had presented no evidence of real substance to the edge and had thus appeared diagrammatic. The change is in the direction of making the sculpture even more certainly a real thing; the artist’s search for a way out of the thicket of illusions and illusionary devices which have been the tricks of the trade since the recognition of perspective has led him to sculpture with sound in searching for a new form. He has painted only the middle of these tubes, revealing the bare plastic ends; the colors in these new pieces are metallic, but subdued. The show was dedicated to Vermeer’s color and perhaps that refers to the attempt to suffuse the works with light rather than gaudiness of hue. The colors are metallic variations of brown, tan, and a blackish shade. The sound seems slightly different, but perhaps only because this room is smaller than the museum’s chamber, or because plastic gives it a different resonance. Whatever the causes the viewer was made more conscious of the sound changes and combinations as he moved about the room than had been the case in the more widely spaced museum show. These were suspended on rubber bands, or rested between wooden X’s, or were banded to boards. They were down low, up high, in the corner butting each wall, and coming out of the middle rather than hanging at intervals, like paintings in a row. The space that the sculpture occupies is the space that the viewer occupies; one hears it differently with each different circuit of the room, as if one had entered a pattern to direct a sound-sensitive automaton.

Knute Stiles