Art Review: Curious Arrangement: Cassandra Emswiler and Sally Glass at Centraltrak

A series of sheet rock tables fill Centraltrak’s main gallery space, each cluttered with objects, mostly diminutive, ranging from the toss-away to the surprising: golden rings and crumpled metals, fabrics treated with resin, photos, shards of clay and stone, a couple of video projections, a small amp playing a voiced email dialogue, even an M&M, perched precariously – delicately – even sumptuously – on a tiny block. From the cluttered archival Gun and Knife exhibition to Centraltrak director’s Heyd Fontenot’s Wunderkabinett at Conduit Gallery, the UTD residency space has shown a liking for these specimen shows: collections of bric-a-brac, precious refuse.

Yet, Cassandra Emswiler and Sally Glass’s collaborative installation, SHEET/ROCK, has more in common with Carol Bove’s sculptural appropriations than Fontenot’s cabinet of curiosities. These are objects set in space that force relationships and formal and personal narratives. SHEET/ROCK is the product of a studio purging, Glass and Emswiler each bringing their own objects and works-in-progress to the Centraltrak space and then collaborating on the arrangement. That process brings to the fore an interesting compositional dialogue between the objects, with the occasional flash of a modernist idiom – the ovular turtle shell set on a postcard atop a brightly pattered  print inches from a rectangular sculptural relief, crumpled, hardened navy blue and lavender cloth that recalls both the drapery in a renaissance oil and abstract expressionist impasto. But as much as the artists have arranged a dialogue between these materials, the lab-like setting encourages a zeroing-in on the individual objects. It’s research as process, nothing quite yet art, each little curiosity suggesting the burgeoning of an artistic idea.

Photos: Andi Harman