Richard Mock

Contemporary Arts Museum at Jones Hall, Houston

In the curvy red carpeted laps of stratified Jones Hall, Richard Mock has created a multiplicity of intimacies, a rather wondrous achievement. In ten areas, linked by random repetitions and communities of materials and by sociably plotted curiosity and surprise collisions, he has managed to establish within the multi-level, highly eccentric interior a quite different circumstance. It is not an exhibition, in fact, but a series of distinct situations, unavoidably accessible, with no pre-planning about what ought to be present or experienced, the notion of the interception of public and art on unconditioned terms a fully material fact.

Since Mock requires only a floor—his concern for some time has been to bring paintings off the walls—and since the director of the Contemporary Arts Museum, Sebastian Adler, has no museum, they have been left merely to indulge in the public domain, with an intrepid collusion of procedures and attitudes and spaces. Mock’s images in these spaces are not abstractions (he pointed to the Lippold zinging above for comparison), but they are essentially tactile and visual parallels to his own various and open sensibility. At no single point in the entire hall can his series be seen at one time, so that fragmentary recognitions, the awareness of absence and presence, and the anticipation of things beyond become the links to Mock’s time and space intervals. Situations develop from a tentative, tense approach on the lowest level and gradually alter in expansions and dispersions: from dense color to, at last, no color; from stringency to wantonness; and, interspersed, echoes and small extra commotions, with the time involved in their pursuit carrying as much significance as the space traversed.

Martha Utterback