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'Resident Alien'
at Center on Contemporary Art, The Ballard Gallery, Seattle
Recommendation by Laura Macomber

From 'Resident Alien,' at the Center on Contemporary Art

Continuing through April 3, 2010

"Resident Alien"
is one of those rare meditations upon human displacement that leaves a bystander feeling a part of the collective effort, rather than apart from it. The exhibit, comprised of painting, sculpture, video, and mixed media installation, converges the work of 10 artists who hail from Europe and the Mediterranean, but who have set permanent roots in the Pacific Northwest. Their work, like their deracinated identities, is convoluted and multi-faceted: this is a world in which painted lines reach for each other but never connect, where cement prevents paper goods from reaching their recyclable ends and porcelain tubes emerge from a misshapen torso only to dangle, unbounded, in space. Evren Artiran's installation "Dialectics of Nature," a confrontational collage of American-specific industrial trash, is worth the trip by itself. But the exhibit's greatest thematic manifestation lies in the work of Hungarian native Timea Tihanyi. Her urethane rubber and felt images depict unspecific silhouettes of people and things; "Somewhere, Anywhere, Nowhere," is an aptly named, large-scale version of Tihanyi's medium, and its resemblance to a Magic Eye print evokes a strangely pleasing sensation of alienation, of belonging nowhere, or maybe anywhere. Even as the eye settles on the identity of one of Tihanyi's forms, doubt remains: perhaps the form is something else entirely; perhaps it isn't anything at all.

Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)

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