A certain type of magic is the best way to describe Mary Temple’s and Liza McConnell’s new installations premiering at Smack Mellon on September 30th. These two Brooklyn artists employ the subtle use of light and shadow in work that dances around the idea of perception making one wonder what might or might not really be there. Despite their shared sensibilities – they both create illusions albeit using completely different mediums – and the elegant paring of these two solo shows in Smack Mellon’s colossal new space, these two artist’s work couldn’t be more opposite.
Using a low-tech arrangement of lights, lenses and ordinary objects, Liza McConnell’s Compound creates virtual environments without recourse to digital technology and powerful projectors. Mysterious, yet familiar landscapes emanate from strange, glowing assemblages and rudimentary mechanisms. Liza transforms the mundane into the magical using no recorded film or pixels.
Mary Temple’s, fake shadows of a non-existent world have a verisimilitude that is uncanny. In The Forest for the Sea she makes strikingly exquisite wall paintings that function as installation. Mary creates the shadows of an exterior world, painted directly on the interior walls of the space, as if bright sunlight is casting late afternoon shadows through a landscape that is not there. Mary will create a site-specific painting on our 24-foot high by 60-foot long wall.
These new pieces are being created for Smack Mellon’s newly renovated “boiler building” – the original steam generation power plant for the neighborhood in the 1800’s – an imposing, monumental industrial space. It has been left purposefully raw to allow artists the greatest freedom of movement. Situated between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges across the street from the waterfront Brooklyn Bridge Park, if you haven’t seen the NEW Smack Mellon yet, Liza and Mary’s show is the reason to get down to Dumbo. Liza McConnell and Mary Temple will be the fifth exhibition since the inauguration last fall of Smack Mellon’s new home.