ART REVIEW

– PHOTO: “Tunnels” is one of the art installations in “House of Stories,” a new exhibit by artist Meghan Grubb on display in UMSL’s Gallery 210 until April 11, 2015. Photo by Cate Marquis for The Current 2015 ©

 

 

By Albert Nall, Staff Writer for The Current

"House of Stories" is a new exhibit by artist Meghan Grubb now on display in UMSL's Gallery 210 until April 11, 2015. Photo by Cate Marquis for The Current 2015 ©
“House of Stories” is a new exhibit by artist Meghan Grubb now on display in UMSL’s Gallery 210 until April 11, 2015. Photo by Cate Marquis for The Current 2015 ©

Artist Meghan Grubb’s “House of Stories” opened on February 21, in Gallery 210, the art gallery next to the North Campus MetroLink station on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus. The exhibit continues through April 11, 2015.

A reception for the gallery opening and a panel discussion with Grubb and artist Joe Chesla were held February 21. Chesla’s exhibit “Moments of Illumination: Drawn from the Liminal” opened in Gallery 210 on January 31 and will run until March 28. The panel discussion drew a packed crowd to the Gallery 210 Auditorium and was followed by a reception with an open bar and music. The artists were introduced by Terry Shure, the director of Gallery 210. Katherine Rodway-Vega, a member of the Gallery 210 Advisory Committee was the moderator for the event.

Grubb’s work is exhibited internationally, running the gamut from group and solo shows to collaborations, and site specific installations. Grubb has traveled worldwide, to Norway Finland, Spain, and Thailand. Grubb has a M.F.A. degree in art and design from the University of Michigan in 2012, and a B.A. in history and studio art from Wellesley College in 2005.

 "House of Stories," a new art exhibit by Meghan Grubb is on display in UMSL's Gallery 210 until April 11, 2015. Photo by Cate Marquis for The Current 2015 ©
“House of Stories,” a new art exhibit by Meghan Grubb is on display in UMSL’s Gallery 210 until April 11, 2015. Photo by Cate Marquis for The Current 2015 ©

Utilizing analog and digital technologies, Grubb assembles compositions of sculpture, installation, photography, and video in a way that delve into how powerful nonphysical answers to culturally perplexing questions may be produced by the experiences of physical abstractions. The many themes of Grubb’s work include wonders of intuition and the instinctual facets of the present and future. These marvels engage with scientific investigation into perceptual psychology, optics, and the natural environment with the objective of addressing unease in the affairs between humans and the physical spaces in which we occupy.

The works in “House of Stories” include a series of wells and tunnels that are submerged by beams of light, which is protruding, physical, and surreal. The walls of the gallery space have been painted black and the space is lighted by the exhibited installations, creating a mysterious, eerie effect. Part of the exhibit includes an uneven, creaky wooden floor, from which viewers gaze down on the lighted installations embedded in the floor. The projections of beams form a great depth of shadows that are cast behind it. The installations leave a viewer with a feeling of being engaged with the object itself, while at the same time, being overwhelmed with an immersive effect.

The exhibit also includes two framed pieces of living material – grass – arranged in a geometric pattern, which are hung on the wall like paintings. These pieces are located in the first part of the gallery, where light from the lobby falls into the space, and are the only parts with conventional spotlights on the art.

One of the pieces in Meghan Grubb's art exhibit "House of Stories," on display at UMSL's Gallery 210 until April 11, 2015. Photo by Eric Wynen for The Current 2015 (c)
One of the pieces in Meghan Grubb’s art exhibit “House of Stories,” on display at UMSL’s Gallery 210 until April 11, 2015. Photo by Eric Wynen for The Current 2015 (c)

There are circumstances and moments in a person’s life, where one is compelled to pause and reflect, and that is brought on by the wells and the lights. In entering the wells, you are emerging into the subliminal, a threshold of something oblique, in which you cannot quite understand. There are moments of disbelief– that creepy, greasy residue in your psyche that you just cannot seem to grasp. Grubb’s work is just as natural as it is scenic, which contributes to the greater intrigue. The exhibit is primitive and has layers that are stripped away to convey a simplicity in the essence of the object that is being exhibited. There is a serendipity that creates the moments of being there. This is at the essence of Grubb’s sublime “House of Stories,” a moment of time and space that is in a midst of change, a state of becoming.

This sense of mystery seems to be a theme in Grubb’s work. Among the works Grubb discussed during the lecture, which included PowerPoint slides, was a work called “Apparition.” This 2011 work was done in a 5,000 square foot basement that was abandoned and dark, and included an isolated hut also constructed on the campus of the University of Michigan. Grubb described the work as being very rough and gritty, leaving her with a feeling of being in an isolated, vast, illusionist landscape. The artist’s intention seemed to be making the viewer feel claustrophobic about the site.

Gallery 210 is free and open to the public, Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

© The Current 2015