Art Review: Terror From Above: Eric Eley’s Coincident Disruption

Suspending blue netting and burlap from the walls and ceiling, Eric Eley has created a transitional ocean or aerial landscape. Structurally, the installation was derived from early 1900’s wartime camouflage: this kind of  netting was historically part of a tenting system that disguised ground-based activities from aerial bombers. In Coincident Disruption the relationship has been reversed: the mottled netting obscures the sky from the ground dwellers.

During Eley’s artist talk about his show at the McKinney Ave. Contemporary, he spoke of the sky as an object of both “awe” and “terror,” a place of spiritual epiphany and salvation which could quickly turn into a realm from which death was distributed. With no real defense from aerial attacks, instincts were subdued and faith was extended to this spotty, mostly transparent aesthetic technology, as if it truly was an adequate disguise from death. The flimsy distraction hoisted overhead quickly allows a psychological blindness or perceptual myopia.

Investigating this relationship between avoidance and concealment Coincident Disruption divides the space, creating a transitional barrier between the viewer below and the space beyond. The respective roles assigned, the camouflage gives permission to ignore the sky and any troublesome doubts that may plague us; we may continue shoe-gazing, heads in the metaphorical sand.

Perhaps most discomfiting is the notion that the sky must be disguised from us. This attempt at subterfuge paradoxically draws not only our attention to the sky but also our desires, daring us to find and exploit it’s secrets.

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