Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sarah Hirneisen @ Mark Wolfe Gallery

There were several artists showing at the Mark Wolfe Gallery, but by far I was most moved by two pieces by Sarah Hirneisen, a local sculptor. The first, Naming Conventions, was an immaculate white case filled with rows of glass shelves on which sat small glass vials of Iraqi oil and carefully etched onto each of these was the name of an Iraqi citizen killed in the Iraq war. I found the juxtapositions of sterility with the messiness of oil, politics, death, and war, and the fragility of etched glass a powerful metaphor for the American-Iraqi relationship. The second piece, Inventory, was a spare metal house-shaped frame with glass squares filled with the contents of vacuum cleaners of various homes. On the back of each square, the contents within were meticulously cataloged. For me, the piece again dealt with juxtaposition, this time the work of the artist against domestic housework, pointing to how much meaning and value are changed by context. I also highly recommend her website!

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