phile under: art review

Review: Daniel Wallace’s Ghost Vibes

By Lisa Radon August 30, 2009


The experience of seeing Daniel Wallace’s Ghost Vibes at Jill Campioli’s new garage exhibition space can’t be separated from its context. With the pulsing beat of the largest Native American drum I’ve ever seen ringing in my ears, I head down a dark driveway toward the bright white light at the end. The movement down the driveway provides a clearing of mind and sense that culminates in first view of a pure, minimalist installation. In a small garage with unfinished wood-slat walls, a long fluorescent lamp is suspended three feet above a sizzling white drawing in a crystalline powder: a lattice of 2"-wide strips that make an area-rug sized rectangle on the concrete floor. The smell is strong and chemically-meets-woody—in an intruiging rather than offensive way, but of course this is coming from someone who likes the smell of chlorine—making me wonder what the white powder is. Turns out I was smelling turpentine and sanded walls and that the powder is Morton® salt.

Because I am then in that frame of mind, I think about the NaCl and the gas in the tubes above. Turns out that the Sodium, Chlorine, and Argon (the gas in the tube) are all on the same horizontal of the periodic table. The excited molecules in the tube create the light that makes this salt-drawing practically vibrate as well against its dark ground.

As with other sand drawings, one can imagine the ritual of laying down the sand in this precise manner. Title, medium, and the salt-water running in our veins speak to the piece as impermanent leavings of the act of its making as well as shall I say, greater impermanences.

Incidentally, Calvin Ross Carl reports that the new exhibition space will be called Little Field Gallery.

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