Los Angeles

Dwyer Kilcollin, Sunny 5pm Frame, 1st Position, 2014, silica, glass, calcium carbonate, feldspar, dirt, pine needles, resin, bronze, hardware, 33 1/2 × 22 1/2 × 4". M+B.

Dwyer Kilcollin, Sunny 5pm Frame, 1st Position, 2014, silica, glass, calcium carbonate, feldspar, dirt, pine needles, resin, bronze, hardware, 33 1/2 × 22 1/2 × 4". M+B.

Dwyer Kilcollin

M+B/LAXART

Dwyer Kilcollin, Sunny 5pm Frame, 1st Position, 2014, silica, glass, calcium carbonate, feldspar, dirt, pine needles, resin, bronze, hardware, 33 1/2 × 22 1/2 × 4". M+B.

For three days in early November, on a hillside on the east side of Los Angeles, Dwyer Kilcollin erected a freestanding metal fence on which she mounted “algorithmically derived image-shapes” she had cast by hand from computer-generated 3-D models. Boundary, screen, and makeshift gallery wall, the armature further served as a viewfinder: Through the chain-link grid, the tree- and house-flecked expanses of the surrounding rises became conflated with their pictures. These “image-shapes” (as the show’s press release described them)—small, rectangular reliefs—translate and, in their incorporation of various organic matter and pigments (silica, glass, calcium bicarbonate, feldspar, dirt, and pine needles largely culled from nearby), ossify the landscape on which they are based. Seen from the right vantage point, the panels effectively redoubled the sky, the horizon, and the terrain below, producing a slippage between image and place—a feat all the more surprising for these sculptural pictures’ warped, molten convex surfaces, from which outlines of a bottle, book, sweater, pair of binoculars, or backpack emerge. Simultaneously the result of an indexical process (set in motion by the photos of the landscape Kilcollin used for reference and then literalized by the stuff she embedded into the objects) and mimesis, Kilcollin’s panels harden the view, producing shells of space that, but for the fence upholding them, they could never contain.

After the opening weekend, Kilcollin reinstalled the fence and its works inside M+B gallery (which cosponsored the exhibition with LAXART): “Location 2” to the outdoor installation’s “Location 1.” A single piece, Sunny 5pm Binoculars, 1st Position (all works 2014), hung on a wall adjacent to the two galleries in which the fence, now split into two freestanding units, was ensconced. The other pieces were mounted to the chain link with twisted wire ties. While the fence in its first iteration kept nothing in or out and was easily sidestepped, here the barriers reached nearly to the ceiling and walls of their reduced quarters, forcing the viewer to circumnavigate them at close range (and thus they operated as fences usually do). Moreover, entering the gallery from the right, one came upon the hanging works obliquely rather than head-on, as in the open-air installation. If the gallery environs offered only white plaster, they provided a ground for the discrete objects to assert themselves more forcefully. Devoid of environmental distractions, and effloresced by an even light, the granular nature and intense coloration of the works came into sharper focus. The evergreens, mosses, and mushrooms and other browns of Sunny 5pm Sweater, 1st Position A, protruding from the vertical board in the shape of the garment referenced in the title, were especially acute.

In each piece, this local color palette fully evoked the work’s original site. So, too, did the cast objects recall Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. The binoculars may be a sly auto-critique of art spectatorship, but they also evoke the ornithologist in this bird-saturated region, and the backpack into which the rest of the gear could fit might be understood as an emblem of hiking. The sweater suggests a sort of bodily surrogate. Yet instead of the expected deficiency, depletion, or loss when seen at a remove from the context of their potential use, the works enjoyed an enhanced autonomy. The gallery setting drew attention to their remove from the landscape, even as they appeared to overtly mimic it. Each work responded not to the view, but to a view of the view, at a different time of the day and under distinct atmospheric conditions (hence the sunny or cloudy in the titles)—a kind of neo-neo-Impressionism. As it happened, the show’s alfresco opening followed a rainstorm and sudden clearing. Thus the weather produced neither sun nor clouds, exactly, but something else, which averted the claim on representational acuity even as it was predicated upon it. A commentary on the displacements and disembodiments of contemporary experience, Kilcollin’s work resists the seductions of technophilia for its own sake, insisting on the subjectivities her art occasions.

Suzanne Hudson