Installation shot of Kristin Cammermeyer’s exhibition at Outside Gallery.
Kristin Cammermeyer’s show at Insert Blanc Press’ Outside Gallery is a curious combination of kaleidoscopic visions that include hanging ornaments that remind me of non-functional bird cages and windmill parts gone astray. Los Angeles offers its residents the gift of year-long temperate weather, and so Mathew Timmons and his girlfriend Chris Niemi decided to take advantage of that, and position Outside Gallery outside, in the front yard of their home. Artists who show here are welcome to set-up in a way that feels more site-specific installation or public sculpture and less temporary art exhibition. It is as if to say welcome to my home, and also come enjoy the finds of our front yard, which is an art menagerie.
Cammermeyer’s exhibition, which runs through December 11, presents an accumulation of local found-objects-turned-sculptures and two projections — one of the projections is an actual 11-minute video, and the other of multiple changing lights onto highly patterned canvases. Together, the two video projects create an inverse/ reflection effect, which is further complimented by the sculptures in the front yard, which all have faux mirror elements to them. It is as if the sculptures are the slices of patterns from the videos, and the videos flatten the sculptural objects into two-dimensions and then play on infinite repeat. In short, everything appears to be an optical illusion, which means that nothing is what it seems to be. But everything in the show does proudly take up and own the space that it occupies, whether it is contained in a video or the front yard of this home.
Between the well-rounded exhibition of objects and visuals, Cammermeyer succeeds in creating an audio and visual experience that’s somewhere between the tripped-out vibes of the Pacific Northwest and like Native American quilt patterns that one would find in the Southwest, which geographically makes sense because here we are in Los Angeles, between those two places and cultures.
In “The Biggest Wheel + Variations (mobile over reflection pool),” we see three hanging objects (diamond, triangle, circle) over a black square reflection in what appears to be a pool, but is not. This structure is lit up by yellow and red bulbs. Like a hanging Christmas ornament blasted into mere forms, this object beckons the viewer but never offers a clear path explaining why it exists. In the trance-like video “Accumulation at 12th & Marion: May 7–June 19, 2015″ that Cammermeyer made while at a residency in Seattle, upon which objects accumulate over time and transform for the viewer. The objects that cover the sculptural corner inside a gallery do things like vibrate, spin, and float to the sound of what seems to be a tick-tick-tick of a spinning projector on its last legs begging for an outlet mixed with flight signals from a spaceship headed toward a black hole.
In order to engage Los Angeles as a place in her works, Cammermeyer specifically used objects that she found around the neighborhood of Lincoln Heights. At every corner, she seemed to encounter another chair, some mirror, weird gifts that appeared in this residential neighborhood. Rather than arranging them like found object junk sculptures, or something that has more of a Noah Purifoy junk dada sensibility, Cammermeyer went for more of a puzzle-piecing route, chopping up this stuff and putting it back together in ways that keep it from being at all functional. It is, however, functional as art, and its true purpose is to dazzle your senses.
But for everything I’ve just written about the work, here’s the thing: It’s not actually worth talking about. By that I mean, it’s something to experience as you’re wandering through the sculptures, many of which have what look like black pools of water at the bottom of them when in fact these are just black-painted slabs of material. In that way, there’s also something hopeless and forever circulating about Cammermeyer’s show. Because there is no endpoint or place to land, one bounces back and forth amongst the sculptures in the front yard like a metal ball does inside of a pinball machine, staying in until eventually gravity pulls it down.