Flora Kao: Wind House, Abode That A Breath Effaced
June 7 – August 10, 2014
Opening Reception: June 7th, 7-10pm
The Mojave Desert is a space of tenuous order and inevitable decay. Shacks in varied states of ruin punctuate the scrubby expanse of sand. Allowing homesteaders to claim up to five acres of expendable public land, the Small Tract Act of 1938 spawned a mid-century desert land rush. The majority of these homes were eventually abandoned due to the extreme living conditions. In Wonder Valley, a collapsed shack seems to have melted into the ground. A single gable stands erect, surrounded by an explosion of white shingles.
Wind House, Abode That A Breath Effaced explores the poignant associations of this fallen form through a life-size rubbing of the homestead’s debris field. Executed on a thousand square feet of white silk, gestural black marks map the house at a specific moment of decay. This rubbing is transformed into an installation of eight panels suspended askew across the gallery. Upon entering, the viewer is immersed in a sensuous drawing that can only be comprehended in fragments over time, never at once. With each turn, one’s experience oscillates between compression and openness, as new vistas are framed and cropped, lines advance and recede, and textures unfold.
Capturing the physical evidence of failure, Wind House, Abode That A Breath Effaced archives the effect of entropy on an architecture of economy. Mapping absence and presence, the rubbings present a visceral encounter with erasure and accumulation. Breathing with the viewer’s movement through the space, the installation suggests the precarious balance of a structure on the verge of collapse. Referencing shrouds, fossils, and grave rubbings, the installation’s black wood grain and white fabric suggest sails, shipwreck, and surrender, linking the vastness of the ocean with the extremes of the desert. Ultimately, Wind House, Abode That A Breath Effaced meditates on the fugitive nature of home and the ease of loss in a land of new beginnings.
The opening reception will take place on June 7th, 2014, 7-10pm, during the First Saturday Art Walk.