A snowy day. Probably not the best time to visit a gallery, but the second world war is at its peak in All the light we cannot see and Queen Elizabeth and Phill are facing a rough tide in The Crown Season 2. All around is a sense of gloom. Lackluster life. And sometimes all it takes to mend the mood is to let it wander consciously, with the aid of some colors and forms. Art. I venture into the freezing outdoors, and almost turn into an icicle before my Uber arrives. And off we go to The Delaware Contemporary, just seven miles away from home.
A gallery can be soothing and warm, like a gulp of Scotch. Just to see someone stand in front of a painting, immobile, weighed down by a swarm of thoughts, is strangely calming. Reality is no more the sole realm of existence. There are different worlds, you can hop on to and off from. And suddenly the world you are in is like a mound of slime, and not a ball of mud. Flexible, fun, less serious. And as I traverse it, one piece of work at a time, the snow thickens outside; and just as I soak in the last of the dreamy exhibit by Russian-born artist Marsha Ryskin, I hear the gallery is to be shut earlier than usual. I exit, mended. My world, all lustrous again.
Top picks from the ongoing shows:
Overgrowth by Courtney Ryan
My first instinct was ‘Eww’. It reminded me of decay, tentacles of Davy Jones, a pulpy mass of the insides of some sea animal. And the fact that a certain piece could invoke all those visuals made me deem it a hit. This is part of a larger exhibition called Domestic: the 2017 MFA biennal, which features eight artists in total. The show aims to throw light on the clutter that is around, and the unstoppable growth built on this clutter, thereby creating more clutter. Like a man chasing his tail. A vicious cycle. A whirpool of doom.
Soudan by Virginia Bradley
This one is by Virginia Bradley, a professor of painting and drawing at University of Delaware. This glossy artwork though is a pleasant blue and green, and should ideally remind one of the freshness that nature can offer. For me, I felt a suffocation; like trying to see the beauty outside from the abyss of a lake. Later, when I read the catalogue, I learned that Bradley’s work is based on a research that she has been doing on the Soudan Iron Mine near Tower, Minnesota. Her works are inspired from the mineral imagery from the mine.
The Canada Option by Rebekah Flake
This one doesn’t look as big as in the photo. It was a small work hidden from view on one of the pillars inside the gallery, but it spoke to me than any of the other works that artist Rebekah Flake had put up as part of the show that explores the issues of migration and borders. Many of her works are a result of her observation of how refugees express their frustrations and desires to move; an observation that makes one reflect on the thought: how tough is it to make any move? how tough is it to embrace any kind of change?
Here is a slide show that includes many of the other works in the gallery.