"In Search of Eden: A Work in Progress"
Wednesday, October 27–Sunday, December 23
Boston University School of Visual Arts - Gallery 808
808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
Opening Reception, Friday, November 19, 6–8 p.m.
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday
For more information, please call 617-358-0922.
“This multi-faceted and collaborative project will explore various social constructs interpreted through metaphors of a present-day Garden of Eden. The installation will encompass photography, sculpture, painting and daily performances by the artists, who will be working in the gallery for the duration of the show.”
pt at large’s visit Thursday, November 18, 2010
Most artists work in isolation, channel their muses, then present us with the finished product. The Triiibe collaborative is a different breed of artist entirely, not just performance oriented but creation oriented. Since October 27, Triiibe members identical triplets Alicia, Kelly, and Sara Casilio have been up to their identical elbows creating “In Search Of Eden: A Work in Progress” at 808 Commonwealth Avenue.
This is the most ambitious collaboration the group has undertaken. Founding members Alicia, Kelly, and Sara Casilio and renowned photographer Cary Wolinsky, are joined by as impressive and eclectically talented a team as you can imagine.
Theater director Marie Brown, photo composite specialist Rick Kyle of 5000K Color Studios, graphic designer Babs Wolinsky, creative thinker Sheryl Handler, Sculptor Nick Doriss, costume designer Alison Heryer, designer Lauren Sanders, Wolinsky’s son videographer Yari Wolinsky, and printmaker Gus Kayafas have all had creative input. Plus the assorted interns, friends, hair stylists, makeup artists, accessory providers, carpenters, and even a neighbor or two who become ad hoc members of Triiibe for any given project. Hierarchy is a non-issue. All of them get to put their two cents into the concept.
This installation includes seven huge panels (each named after a variety of apple), triptychs that riff on the biblical creation story, the notion of temptation, and our eternal quest for Eden. The exhibition runs through December 23, 2010.
Once the collaborative conceived the idea of presenting seven triptychs in the showroom windows, the project got poured into Triiibe’s Petrie dish. That’s when the fun began. Imagine creators of Saturday Night Live in charge of an exhibit at the MOMA.
The Triiibe team imagines the theme and a creative scrum unfolds… sketch the composition, identify symbolic objects to include in the photo, formalize the composition, determine lighting, angles, appropriate apparel, fabrics, make-up, poses, and postures. Every tiny detail contributes to the composite of photos that make up each panel. Cary Wolinsky's photography is brilliant - the triptychs are gorgeous.
Wolinsky has already taken the photographs, which have been scanned at Rick Kyle’s studio and assembled into the composite image the Triiiibsters imagined. When you walk through the installation, ask a Triiibe member about the intricate steps it took to produce each image.
They’re not kidding with the “work in progress” title. The completed triptychs on display are the springboard for the rest of the installation. For an art enthusiast, the experience of watching this Triiibe figure out how to best use the space to lay out the enormous space is “Eden” right on 808 Commonwealth Avenue.
The day I visit the place everyone is focused. An opening reception is scheduled for tomorrow. Here are Alicia, Kelly, and Sara answering questions from small groups of Boston University students taking tours of the five panels of the seven panels already placed in the showroom windows (the last two arrive tomorrow). Several tarps covered with tape, paint, tools, and lighting fixtures are strewn on the lustrous black and brown granite floors.
Spread across the showroom are a dozen members of Triiibe's collaborative team preparing for a public reception the next night. There is Shelly Casilio, the triplet’s mother, making comfy ottomans for visitors to sit on, There is one of the Casilio’s artist friends drawing a complex set of lines Kelly Casilio has designed that will result in a trompe l’oeil painting in a free standing structure built inside the showroom.
The fact that Triiibe is holding the exhibition in a cavernous 11,000 square foot Boston University School of Visual Arts space that was formerly a Peter Fuller Cadillac dealership is poetic. Instead of trying to figure out whether the salesman is offering a decent deal it feels like you’re sitting in an exotic vehicle wondering what the heck all the buttons operate. This exhibit takes time to absorb. Like the cool car, it’s easy to enjoy just looking at it. The problem comes when someone asks you what’s under the hood.
The triplets are not merely trading on their astonishing resemblance to each other. They’re using it to pose questions about our collective identity. Could be a theme about justice, religion, adolescence, identity, the media or politics. By the time they're finished, the installation will include photography, sculpture, and painting. Plus daily performances by the artists, who are working in the gallery for the duration of the show.
Performance artists at the core, here they are in socks and smocks talking to anyone who walks in to see what’s going on. They’ve literally opened the thick velvet curtains they’ve installed on the Commonwealth Avenue showroom windows so passersby can see the art and the environment being assembled.
Want to know how the individual photos were created and now form a composite: just ask. Want to give your interpretations of what you see? Pipe up. I doubt you’ll find a more direct opportunity to engage with artists who really listen to your take on what they’re doing.
We in the audience are creators, too. During the 90 minutes I spend here today, I’ve heard several imaginative interpretations on what the pieces mean to the observers. “Wow, that’s neat, we didn’t see that!” one of the triplets responds to a college kid’s comment.
One of the richest experiences in viewing art is feeling how it washes over you, parsing out what it means to you, and wondering what the artists might be intending. And if what the viewer takes from the art is not the same as what the artist intended, no crime, no foul. It extends the reach of the work for both viewer and artist.
When the artists are a Triiibe with whom you can talk informally while looking at what they’ve created, you’ve hit the jackpot in a gallery installation experience.