Outsight Inn at Rupert Ravens Contemporary
by Lawrence Ciarallo
October 23, 2010 – March 6, 2011
Rupert Ravens Contemporary, a striking three floor, 30,000 sq. ft. space in the heart of Newark, NJ. RRC is currently featuring 27, one-of-a-kind solo projects, aptly titled Outsight Inn, in a wide array of medium, scale, and subject matter. Curated by Rupert Ravens in a biennial style, Outsight Inn, features work by emerging and established artists. Few obstructions are placed upon innovation as Ravens challenges artists to create full-scale environments, for viewers to interact with and savor. The work flows superbly and creates an ambiance of originality that is sure to peak curiosity and provoke questioning. Each project offers penetrating insights in to some exceedingly contemporary minds.
Floor by floor the senses are treated to a cornucopia of stimulation. The ground floor encompasses meditations on digital art through the LED sculptures of Kati Vilm, the trailblazing iPad creations of Nigerian artist/curator Olu Oguibe, and the photography of Vicki DaSilva, depicting vast plaids of searing light in space. The first floor is a reflection on Americana realized through the full-scale reproduction of a pink suburban garage sale by Jared Whitham along with the interactive, inflatable, skateboard video of Thomas Broadbent, and the mirrored, feathered, Laser Falcon masks of Rich Wislocky.
On the second floor, AK Airways’ forty-foot inflatable Cuddlefish half charms and half stuns visitors. Markus Baenzinger’s poetic organic sculptures jut eccentrically off the walls. Christopher Tanner’s encrusted, refulgent chunks blaze out one entire gallery section, while Matt Stone’s work, incorporates the floor and ceiling, creating a 360-degree setting of colored foam, tiered resin pools, and snaking shales of cardboard.
The idea of artists forging an idiosyncratic space is wholly accomplished on the third floor through the work of Ryan C. Doyle where graffiti-emblazoned walls are further enlivened by his gargantuan ride-able sculptures. Of course, there are in fact a few less sensational art corners here such as the straightforward RC cola, moonpie, and baseball paintings by Mike Howard and Chinese-Opera-turned-Manga photos by Han Zeng, which do not appear to deviate far from standard practice.
All the same, the majority of postmodern work created today lacks the individual expressiveness that was on view at Outsight Inn, a place where overall artistic ingenuity and curatorial vision come together symbiotically to engage and inspire. Outsight Inn artists are not post-anything. They are out, outside the boundaries of conventional thought, and clearly plan to make their vacation away from the stable banal permanent.