| Hart Hat Area by Traci
Metro, February 27, 2003
EIGHT ACROSS and five down, Jim Haynes' fractured photographs
tile one wall of WORKS/San Jose in an installation that brings
attention to the gallery's industrial confines. What follows
industry? Why, decay, naturally. Haynes takes his entropic
inspiration from rust. Or, as he puts it, "I rust things."
Objects, photographs, microphones: each undergo a going under,
and each emerge altered in ways that are poignant and disturbing
and very, very beautiful. WORKS does a great thing with its
space in this show, acidly titled "untitled until ..."
Entering the gallery foyer, the viewer's glance is clouded
by an eye-level screen made of opaque plastic sheeting and
black frames. The screen doesn't impede enough to function
as a wall--you could, if you wanted, walk right under it--but
it effectively obscures the artwork behind it, frustrating
the gaze. It's like a cataract, or an art condom.
Winding into the gallery area, three large photographs by
Dianne Jones literally figure the show's motif. The first
is set in San Jose at dusk. A knot of red-lit contrails twists
across the sky, hovering above a sprawling industrial lot.
The contrails are the most decorative thing in the landscape,
partly because they're only momentary. They'll fade--as will,
at a much slower rate, the factories over which they float--but
on some scale they will have permanently altered their environment.
Which is exactly what Haynes' rusty stuff is all about: i.e.,
can environmental (meaning natural and spatial, not environmentalist)
processes that are haphazard create something meaningful to
us? Haynes' blown-up black-and-white photographs serve as
canvases for his Rorschach rust blots. Some of the rust is
in circles, like the markings left by a coffee cup on the
kitchen counter, but much of it is more mysterious, organic
Titled as a series, Magnetic North, Numbers One, Two and Three
share only a material causality. Whatever image lies beneath
Number One has been utterly abstracted by the photo's grain
and a messy grid of rust spots. In Number Two, what look like
power lines run across a sky contrariwise to an arc of circular
rust stains. An actual structure in Number Three recalls bridge
trestles, spreading in a stained silhouette across the framed
squares. Accompanying the Magnetic North trio, and filling
the room as much as the physical artwork, is the eerie sound
of Haynes' recordings of microphones in slow decay. The feedback
is strangely celestial, like the soundtrack for 2001: A Space
Neither Haynes' nor Jones' work is meant to pass judgment
on industry, I think, or to make any point other than that
beauty might be accidental. This makes the work of the show's
third artist, Mike Meyers, a little difficult to figure. The
two sculptures hung from the ceiling bristle with intention.
A large wood piece looks like a prefab roof truss and fights
for space with a row of hanging metal balls that recall the
perpetual motion metal desk toys so popular with executives
in the '80s. These pieces contradict Haynes' in their very
neatness. But what follows neatness?