Emptiness and Luminosity Converge

I Saw Three Cities, Felecia Chizuko Carlisle’s solo exhibition at Dorsch Gallery, takes its title and leitmotifs from a painting by early 20th century surrealist Kay Sage. In the painting, the pictorial space is partially framed by a wrapped and windblown length of canvas resembling a massive figure with an outstretched arm. Triangular walls recede into the arid, indeterminate distance casting stark shadows on ambiguous architectural forms.

By manipulating light and shadow, Carlisle translates Sage’s investigations of expansiveness into an installation both sparse and quietly kaleidoscopic. Ostensibly consisting of discreet works of sculpture, video and photography, all works in the show are united by a central piece, Untitled, a 12-foot long solar-powered chandelier. The swooping diagonal of ten pink bulbs colonizes every surface in the long gray room with its sun-harnessed glow.

The far wall is occupied by a large-scale video projection entitled Pink Army/Pink Rectangle, altered found footage of a military parade in which all of the soldiers happen to be women in fuschia uniforms and luminous white berets. The army marches nowhere, forever, in perfect harmony, at times obscured by a pink frame. Frames and framed-out structures interlink as one moves through the space. A sculpture called Unusual Thursday, another title borrowed from Sage, is situated opposite the chandelier. Constructed of a polymer decking material called Lifetime Lumber (presumably selected for its allusion to infinity), the piece resembles two framed-out walls striving to be a pyramid, pointing with a flourish back to the forever-marching ladies.

A suite of photos documenting shadows, reflective surfaces, abstracted utilitarian architectural elements and one monumentally unfinished high-rise building are hung in a long row, the scale and texture of each individual image collapsed and punctuated by the spectre of the solar chandelier. It is the most immeasurable and intangible material in the exhibition, transformed sunlight, that converts so many contrasting formal elements, raw materials, and surfaces into a meditation on potentiality.

~Christina Gast

Images: Installation views. Courtesy Dorsch Gallery.