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Terence Dick
Semiopaque at G Gallery
June 22, 2016

Sometime last month a couple students put a pair of eyeglasses on the floor of a SFMOMA gallery and tricked – or inspired (your call) – visitors to regard it as art. Anyone who's been paying attention for the last hundred years of art history would be fine with that, but there seems to be a long lingering joy in making hay with the pretentions of post-post-post-post avant-garde art (if the internet activity relaying the prank was any indication). However, as Peter Schjeldahl pointed out in a brief reflection on the readymade, the teens were on to something.

Liza Eurich & Tegan Moore, Semiopaque, 2016, installation view

Unless you're wearing them, when you look at a pair of glasses you're really just looking at the frame. But the funny thing is, the frame is what you're not supposed to see when you wear the glasses. By placing the glasses – or more accurately, the frame – on display, you make visible the invisible. Or, to put it another way, you draw attention to the hidden architecture of our perception. If that’s not art, then I don’t know what art is. A similar prank could be played on Liza Eurich and Tegan Moore's exhibition Semiopaque at G Gallery since they are also working with everyday structures that hide in plain sight. Troublemaking teen Conceptualists could label the air vent or fluorescent lights with a suitably accurate but suggestive title like Circulation Enhancer. They don’t need to because the artists, working independently but in synch with each other’s thinking, do a sufficiently subtle but disorienting job of making something out of what appears to be nothing.

Tegan Moore, Interiors of a Hollow Core, 2016, detail

Just like the glasses frame, that nothing is really quite essential and ubiquitous. The most obvious example of this unobvious phenomenon is Moore’s Interiors of a Hollow Core: a transparent wall that bisects the gallery. The semiopaque surface provides a surface that is both transparent and not – seen and unseen. It not only reveals the back half of the exhibition but it puts its own construction on display: within the two-inch width of the wall is a geometry of studs along with wires and a speaker system. The framing of the wall echoes the frames of Eurich’s rack sculptures. Both provide support – like the glasses frame and a picture frame – for something else. In the absence of the something else, the frame, the rack, and the wall come out of the shadows like in a Twilight Zone episode where the puppeteers of our private lives are dramatically revealed.

Moore takes this idea further afield with her furnace filer sound piece (in the aforesaid wall) and furnace filter sculpture (Particle Preserver). Just as space is bounded by frames, the very air we breathe is designed to contain us. And, it should be said, we like it that way. Or we’ve gotten so used to it, we prefer it. Despite the reference to renowned grump Theodor Adorno in the artists’ statement and the suggestion that deliberate reticence can be appropriated for a critique of consumerism, this exhibition strikes me as full of wonder rather than dread. By removing the commodities – the junk on the rack, the pictures on the wall – Eurich and Moore clear the air and bring light into world.

G Gallery:
Semiopaque continues until June 25.

Terence Dick is a freelance writer living in Toronto. His art criticism has appeared in Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, Prefix Photo, Camera Austria, Fuse, Mix, C Magazine, Azure, and The Globe and Mail. He is the editor of Akimblog. You can follow his quickie reviews and art news announcements on Twitter @TerenceDick.



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