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 


  • Carol Cohen

    WOW! What nuggets of new found talent. Shiny and reflecting off of each other’s work. Won’t it be fun to watch their future pieces become more and more polished and refined? Stay tuned!

  • joe s

    I saw it both as a visceral and childlike fascination/analyzation of contrast, texture and color and as a foundation of building an understanding of these qualities as a sort of fundamental “art lesson”.