November 19 – December 23, 2011
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 19, 6-8pm
D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Heather Rowe.
Featuring wall-based works, the exhibition represents a shift in scale from Rowe’s larger installations. While her previous sculptures addressed social space and dislocation, immersing the viewer in a quasi-cinematic experience, the new structures investigate the more personal form of the domestic mirror. In these wall pieces, she continues to employ strategies that allude to the space of architectural models, but the scale and material invite a one-to-one relationship with the viewer. The mirror's surface and frame are inverted, creating complex layers in which reflections are oblique or obscured. The hybridity of these constructions suggest multiple interpretations. A white textured wallpaper completely covers one of the gallery walls, adding a subtle complement to the exhibition.
A vanity mirror today simply provides the viewer with a frontal experience, an examination of his or her reflection, perhaps additionally performing the illusion of augmented space. Decorative mirrors for the home have become a reassuring commonplace whose banality belies a long history of superstition about reflective glass and its historical associations with the occult, transcendence, madness, and divinity. Rowe’s wall works subvert those functions and reinvigorate a darker, more complex set of symbolic associations. When the viewer is confronted with these specular images, he or she cannot directly identify with what is being reflected. The shards of mirror display a fractured self and point to a subliminal fear of fragmentation of the Ego. The frameworks organize the reflection, fostering a mise en abyme that projects into invented spaces within the walls upon which the works hang. This uncanny optical experience conveys the sense of being both observer and observed, leaving the viewer unable to discern which side of the mirror the gaze commands.
Playing off of the potentials of architecture, but not beholden to its internalized morality, Heather Rowe’s work simultaneously establishes and disrupts boundaries, creating objects and environments in which architectural elements are deployed not in the cause of reassurance, but as devices of experiential instability and surprise.
—Sean Keller from “Mirror and Cut”, essay in Heather Rowe, 2011
An illustrated catalogue will be published on occasion of the exhibition with texts by Jacob Proctor, Sean Keller, and an interview with Matthew Brannon.
Rowe’s solo exhibitions include commissions for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana and UMMA/University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including shows at PS1/MoMA, Long Island City, New York; Art in General, New York; White Columns, New York; the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; and in 2008 her work was featured in the Whitney Biennial.