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Through Jan. 7, 2010



There are art installations, and then there are art installations. A wall of speakers sounds more like a heavy-metal fan’s wet dream than a static art piece. Admission at Rio Gallery is an entrance into a hall of mirrors, but instead of redoubling the visible, it uses the not-inconsiderable space of the Rio Grande depot space to ricochet sound.

The show pairs Chris Purdie and Marc Bradley Johnson for works that complement each other in a unique manner. Purdie’s contribution is a 6-foot cube constructed by stacking more than 200 functioning speakers to represent thought or voice. (Detail is pictured.) Johnson’s sculpture is a 7-foot cube composed of 12 functioning doors to create a symbolic representation of access to possibilities or options. The audience is invited to interact with these sculptures by listening to the speakers and by walking in and out of the doors. It’s a kind of maze in which directionality is a function of “synaesthesia”, a multidimensional mnemonic for a transit that’s dynamic—physically and emotionally affecting.

“We’re excited to show the unique concept of these two Utah artists,” said Margaret Hunt, director of the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. “This exhibit will really engage people and highlight the art of sound and motion.” Listening can be as active a behavior as the more physical one of locomotion. As with the visual world, there always exists the possibility of allowing one’s self to become lost in pure sensation.

Admission @ Rio Gallery, 300 S. 455 West, 801-533-3582, through Jan. 7, 2010.

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