Soo Sunny Park is the first artist selected for Laumeier's Kranzberg St. Louis Exhibition Series, and if her gallery installation "Bio-Structure: Metra Geo" is any indication of how this series will develop, we're all in luck. Park was evidently given lots of support and latitude, and she was allowed to utterly transform several of the galleries into sites of spatial exploration and adventure.
Cheryl Wassenaar, A (Delta + Columbia PKWY), 2002, wood, enamel, 13 by 13 by 2 inches
Cheryl Wassenaar: New Constructions
Through August 30 at the Sheldon Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard, 314-533-9900.
Through September 30 at the Sheldon Art Galleries.
Soo Sunny Park's "Bio-Structure: Metra Geo"
Through September 7 at Laumeier Sculpture Park, 12580 Rott Road, 314-821-1209.
Park fills the front galleries with models and sketches for her project, which only partly prepare viewers for what they encounter in the back galleries. Two of these spaces are linked by related installations of clear plastic columns, rising up and terminating in Gothic rib vaults. The "architecture" is scaled down, creating a more intimate sense of space than what you find in a Gothic cathedral, and there is a decidedly weird, futuristic sensibility to the transparent, collapsible columns. Things get even stranger in the gallery space where the columns contain floating Styrofoam beads, blown around by invisible fans.
Space is defined entirely differently in the next gallery, where the white, rounded walls are covered in plaster half-domes and lit from behind. The effect is disorienting, as if you were floating in white-hot outer space. Passing through to the final gallery is even more disorienting -- it's almost completely dark, punctuated by a cubic set of filaments stretching diagonally from floor to ceiling.
Park has arranged a remarkable sequence of spaces quite consciously, inviting us to examine our bodily movements through different spatial arrangements and atmospheres of light, line and mass. Structural confidence is somewhat lacking in the installations, but Park's ambitions are high, and "Bio-Structure: Metra Geo" works in the end.
Correction published 8/27/03:
As originally published, an item in this column erroneously implied that the Sheldon Art Galleries maintain a permanent collection. The above version reflects the corrected text.