Objects may not be what they appear

Sculpture, painting and performance. Audrey Galat's exhibition/installation “The Devil's Mirage” blurs the lines between the three – with help from, interestingly enough, stripes.

Inspired, in part, by the artist's affinity for stripes in design and fashion, and by Michel Pastoureau's book The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes, “The Devil's Mirage” invites the viewer/audience into an otherworldly space inside the main gallery at Blockfort. A closing performance, featuring movement by Galat, Kat Johnson and Chloe Napoletano, will be held Sunday afternoon.

The movement, improvised by the performers based on concepts expressed by the artist, finds the dancers, clad in blue stripes, moving almost imperceptibly among blue striped paintings and 3D objects. The result is “spiritual or meditative,” Galat said, while also creating “confusion or an illusion.”

“We move so slow it's hard to tell sometimes that we're moving. The hanging pieces are designed also to be able to move, so there's a sense of merging with the sculptures, becoming pieces of art, and blurring the lines between what's inanimate and what's animate.”

“It can be tricky to look at but also pleasing to look at,” she said.

On one hand, the pieces, painted in the calming cerulean blue (the word also means “heavenly,” an obvious poke at the idea of the devil in the piece's title), are intended to call the audience out of an often chaotic existence.

“I like changing the room, creating a complete environment that transforms the space. In this day and age when everything is so fast-paced, and in which we're constantly bombarded by information, it's rare to get that chance to just slow down,” Galat said.

On the other, the piece calls for engagement with the chaos, with the bombardment, using the female body as the basis for all of the art in “The Devil's Mirage.”

“It's a celebration of the female body,” Galat said. “Women's bodies need to be celebrated now more than ever, given assaults on our rights to control our bodies.”

Galat said the work, conceived and made over a two-year period and which meant different things at different times to the artist, was not intended to be political, but that “sometimes you have to be.”

Ultimately, as with any work of art, the viewer/audience has the final say.

“There are many points of view, and I think everyone perceives ‘The Devil's Mirage' a little differently, Galat said.