The 2008 Annual Exhibition

May 10 – August 17, 2008. Catalogue essay by Dina Dietsch. DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park

Kirsten Reynolds
Reynolds, Kirsten
Born in Richmond, VA. Received an M.F.A. from Maine College of Art, Portland, ME, and a B.F.A. from Syracuse University , Syracuse, NY . Lives and works in Newmarket, NH .

Recent solo exhibitions at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Buffalo, NY; The Contemporary Art Center, North Adams, MA; Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA; ArtSpace, New Haven, CT; Firehouse Gallery; Burlington, VT; and Evos Art Center, Lowell, MA.

Participated in group exhibitions at Maine College of Art, Portland, ME; Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA ; Chester College of New England, Chester , NH; The Bakery Studios, Portland, ME; and New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester, NH .

Kirsten Reynolds investigates the relationship between our experience, knowledge, and environments through large-scale installations. How do we really know what we know? What role do our physical experiences—dictated by our bodies and immediate spaces—play in shaping our understanding of this world? Although grappling with such heady philosophical questions, Reynolds creates funny and fantastical environments filled with cartoonish, bright colors and dizzying architecture.

Ironically titled What You See Is What You Get, Reynolds’ site-specific installation is a multilayered play on realism, expectation, and perception. The stage-like tableau waits for us to enter as both viewers and actors but defies our expectations at every turn—nothing we see is what we get. The tumbling planks of wood are in fact painted foam, the characters that populate Reynolds’ world are impossible to identify, the architecture is frozen somewhere between construction and collapse, and, as much as we try, no cohesive story emerges from this chaotic scene. In this unresolved setting, Reynolds tests our experience and vision against what we think we know, aiming at the space in between.

-Dina Deitsch, Assistant Curator

When absence is disguised as excess, looking becomes a comedic performance. Architectural structures, poised in a moment between imminent collapse and perpetual construction, suggest a strangely funny and dreadful event on the verge of becoming. Absurd, biomorphic creatures appear to pause in the midst of creeping, oozing, or watching. Additional figurative elements, furtively placed among the architecture, intensify the potential for a narrative.

I create installations as tableaus to activate the irritating space within language, architecture and the body, which evades certain knowing. In What You See Is What You Get, the posed drama of the architectural “stage” exists in a state of limbo until the viewer chooses to enter, becoming both spectator and actor. Useless or interstitial spaces invite peeping, the object’s integrity is questionable and boundaries defining the real, the remembered and the virtual are playfully confused. The disruption between expectations and perception arouse new possibilities.

-Kirsten Reynolds

Image: Kirsten Reynolds, What You See Is What You Get, 2008, model for installation, mixed media, dimensions variable, Lent by the Artist .

Eye Wonder Family Program: The 2008 DeCordova AnnualGuest Artist: Kirsten Reynolds
Museum Galleries
Sunday, May 18, drop-in from 1 – 3 pmFREE with Campus admission