Husk from David Namhon Kim is one of those exhibitions where science and art have been so intricately intertwined, that you forget where one begins and the other ends.
The living breathing piece that is Proliferation remains in a constant state of flux. While grass seeds work on their relatively slow progression towards a more plantlike state, countless laboratory grade, flightless fruit flies burst through their short life cycle hovering in their small biosphere above the floor. While it may not seem fully contained, precautions have been put in place to create a fully contained ecosystem. This is the main focus of the space, but with so many cycles taking place in each moment one cannot help but be mesmerized. The experience is almost meditative and completely absorbing.
This piece will be constantly changing throughout the duration of the exhibition, so to only visit it once would not truly suffice. I’ve been making weekly visits since the Valentine’s Day opening reception and the transformation has been riveting. I’ve included photos that document the transition week by week and each viewing has brought about a different experience. In my initial and tertiary visits, the flies were much more active and engaged in their life cycles. Yet in the secondary visit, they seemed a bit more staid and relaxed, but this could have been a much colder day (I cannot recall… perhaps it was something in the air or some planet in retrograde…).
The UV cured resin forms of Hive Mutations evoke thoughts of non conformity within a conformist society. Those grouped towards the center seem more complete and in line with what a “perfect” hive should be, but on closer inspection their unique attributes become more apparent. The further from this central group, the greater the variance and differences. It’s almost as if those on the fringe cannot conform, try as they might or they could be fighting the system as much as they can. Kim intentionally printed each of these with their specific flaws so this was not due to an error in the process.
A tertiary piece was added after the reception that re-purposes materials from a piece exhibited at another location. Made from laser cut, delicate mesh Second Flight takes the organic form of a chain of jellyfish like creatures. I was told that when flattened the piece looks almost floral, but I must say that I find the 3D transition to a more animal shape a more cohesive piece in the flow of the show. Sheer white material has been intermittently stained by the liquid produced by moths emerging from their chrysalises in the last exhibition. With these stains, Second Flight is an almost perfect sequence of forms, yet perhaps cautions (like Hive Mutations) that perfection is something that perhaps is best left unsought. It was a lovely sight to see when a breeze would come in from the open door to set the piece in motion. I almost wish it could pulse like a jellyfish swimming in the sea.
Kim will be present at the gallery on Sunday from 12-5. If you have questions, take the opportunity to ask the artist yourself. Would that I could be there, but alas! Other arty plans call me outside the Providence area.