Wednesday, January 12, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Mind Sets at Living Learning Center Gallery in Burlington

The Living Learning Center Gallery presents MIND SETS: Gips, Carnie, Walker from January 20 – February 11, 2011. There will be a free Public Reception on Thursday, January 20, 5-7 pm.

In this fascinating exhibit, three artists use tangled forms from nature to explore those 100 billion neurons, 500 trillion synapses,dendrites, axons, and nodes along with a myriad of chemical and electrical processes that are our brains.

Mind Sets features the work of Burlington-based sculptor Meg Walker, photo and installation artist Terry Gips who lives on Cape Cod, and London-based print and installation artist Andrew Carnie. The works range widely—from Carnie’s small and delicate prints to Gips’ huge gridded photographs to interactive lighted sculptures by Walker—but similar metaphors appear again and again to represent the artists’ visions of the complexities of the mind/brain.

Carnie draws on the parallels between trees (and forests of trees) and the networked patterning of the brain’s neurons to grapple with the unknowable sum of connections that enable us to see, feel, think, respond, and remember. His intimate prints consist of layered and extraordinarily detailed drawings of brains, and trees, leaves, and ferns. They might be seen as a user-friendly way of imaging the brain’s structure and functioning.

Gips also uses highly intricate plant forms as metaphors for the mind/brain. She scans tiny fragments of such things as seaweed, bird’s nests, and sheep’s wool, enlarges them to 20 to 30 times their size and divides them into a dozen or more segments for printing. The segments are hung in a grid, their thin black frames providing a simple geometric structure to tame the apparent chaos. The viewer can look closely at the tangled fibers, branches and roots within each frame and then move back to see their relationship to the whole.

Walker’s Brain Unraveled: You Remain, is also a tangled web, in this case of wires and computer-controlled LED lights. It cascades down from the wall like a wild vine and settles onto the gallery floor to gain an anchoring. Using a motion sensor, the work comes to life when a viewer approaches, turning on its tiny blue and white lights, almost like hidden buds bursting into bloom. On the wall beside the sculpture, a scrambled verse from the poem You Remain by English poet Arthur Symons, further engages the viewer's mind in the work. In this and other sculptures Walker offers her simultaneously playful and conceptually challenging reflections on the inner workings of the brain/mind.