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About the Exhibition

Sponsored by the Public Art Fund.

Location

MetroTech Center

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Featured Artists

Beth Campbell, how I thought it was
A tree, cut short and incomplete, taller than a human and not quite a stump. The trunk, held up by a small hill, is accompanied by a blue blanket.

The scene alludes to the potential for a meeting or romance. So simple and maybe even trite, but it seems this place may still touch a small want or need somewhere inside. A place to consider.

Lie carving your initials into the tree.

For how I thought it was, Beth Campbell (b. 1971, IL) created text fragments that loosely cover the surface of the tree, almost simulating the texture of bark. The fragments are a possible story. The carving suggests a history, but the fragments are still what might become, a potential.

“You move in together”

“You lose our house in a fire”

The fragments of story connect as the viewer walks around and moves around the trunk. It is a comedy of life.

Campbell explains, “The everyday world continually reinvents itself through the assimilation of past meanings into the present and future. The positioning of the individual in this transformative environment is of particular importance. I am perpetually aware of my placement in this shifting reality and how change in perception redefines experience. Art, as a context, is distinguished from the everyday world. Through artifice, art calls into question the world while simultaneously summoning its own sense of self-consciousness.

Art Domantay, Balsa Wood Airplane: The Land that Time Forgot
In Balsa Wood Airplane: The Land That Time Forgot, Domantay has taken a familiar toy, the balsa-wood airplane, and augmented it in scale from a tiny twelve inches to the giant proportion of 15 feet in length. The original iconic design of a balsa-wood airplane, a recognizable childhood object, has been faithfully rendered in every detail, from its torqued rubber band and giant metal clip to the "pre-flight" operating instructions located below the wings. Both the smallest child and the most sophisticated adult can relate to this toy's simple mechanism and its reference to the dream of flight.

Ester Partegas, to from from at across to in from. the centerless feeling
For the lobby of MetroTech One, Ester Partegas (b. 1972, La Garriga, Barcelona, Spain) has created a miniature version of an airport waiting room made out of paper and cardboard, complete with seating, blank billboard advertisements, plants and a kiosk. The title, to from from at across to in from. the centerless feeling, is a random list of prepositions that suggests travel but goes nowhere. There is a wry humor to Partegas’s waiting room, in which no journey occurs and in which the viewer finds him/herself walking through a fake, frozen landscape that serves as a metaphor for the confusing nature of contemporary life.

Partegas sees our identities as increasingly taken over by the culturally neutral attributes of postmodern life. The kind of encounter offered in the installation is that of a “no man’s land” in which real objects help us fend off the feeling that we don’t know where—or who—we are. Such a lifestyle is particularly evident in the airport, where everyone is homeless, on their way to somewhere else.

Austin Thomas, Retro MetroTech Perch
Retro MetroTech Perch is an elevated and updated version of a garden shelter built for use as well as for beauty. The design is inspired by John Burton Brimer’s Designs for Outdoor Living, published in 1959. In a chapter entitled “Every Garden Needs a Shelter,” plans are presented for a shelter containing the caption “Attractive Shelter in a Corner.”

Thomas enlarged and elevated the shelter to fit and enhance the surrounding public landscape, transforming this attractive shelter into a perch for the outdoors. This perch contains stairs and rises a few feet off the ground.

It was Thomas’s intent to make an outdoor oasis for overlooking the grounds. It is distinctive in appearance, harmonizing the past with a present functionality. In Thomas’s words, “to perch is to pause.” Retro MetroTech Perch is a refuge.

Thomas states, “My perches are all about people and place. They are not complete until they draw people in, up and on. Perches facilitate conversation, dialogue, storytelling, and discussion. They are decks without the house, lofts without the bed. They give a new perspective. I want the Retro MetroTech Perch to be an invitation.

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