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Friday At Johalla Projects: Art That Explores What Can't Be Seen

By Julia Weeman in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 6, 2013 9:30PM

2013_06_06_JoeRynkiewicz1sm.jpg I Hear You Singing Through the Wires, a solo exhibition of new work by Chicago artist Joseph Rynkiewicz, opens this Friday at Johalla Projects. Rynkiewicz began his career as a photographer, but in an interview with Chicagoist, he shared that he realized that "photography couldn't do what I wanted it to so I had to find another solution. I started making work in other ways." This body of new work explores what can't be pictured and asks the question, "Is there a way to picture something you've never seen?"

I Hear You Singing Through the Wires includes six new works that circulate around one: "Arrangement for Endlessness," a telephone pole installed within Johalla Projects. The 12 foot pole is sandwiched between two 47 inch mirrors, creating an illusion that it extends infinitely in both directions. Rynkiewicz asks the viewer to imagine that this pole goes on forever.

The other pieces in the show explore where it would emerge at the other end of the world (somewhere in the Indian Ocean) as well as in the cosmos at large. The work is rooted in "examining the expanding and collapsing of time and the placing of that time as art materials, " said Rynkiewicz. "The telephone pole, as an analog of communication, is a natural choice as the central piece to insinuate communication with the unknown. The other works in the show are intended to both support and complicate, bringing specificity while simultaneously asking questions."

Rynkiewicz represents the imagined exit point of the pole in the Indian Ocean through a curtain dyed to match the color of the ocean at that point as approximated by Google maps. It has been soaked in salt water that is the same salinity as the Indian Ocean and a fan will create ripples in the fabric, imitating waves. "The act of filling in the blanks falls on the viewer. I'm saying to them, 'believe this with me' and the meditation happens when we play it out together."

In the myth of the infinite telephone pole that Rynkiewicz has created, a lineman had climbed the pole. One of the other works in the show documents the footprints, left in the form of spike holes, as the lineman scaled the pole into eternity. Another work includes meteorites, which Rynkiewicz purchased on Ebay, to represent where the pole would extend into space. This ties into the fact that an integral part of the show is choosing to suspend your disbelief. "They're from Ebay - they might be fake. They could just be rocks, but we have to believe that they actually are objects from space."

I Hear You Singing Through the Wires runs June 7 - July 5 at Johalla Projects, located at 1821 West Hubbard Street, Suite 209. The opening reception is tomorrow, June 7 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.