Artistic manoeuvres in the dark

Scott Rogers’ Wireframe at Stride Gallery

Art galleries are often the homes of imaginary worlds. Artists spin narratives in their works and invent new ways of seeing the everyday. In Wireframe the new exhibition at Stride Gallery by Calgary-based artist Scott Rogers the everyday is definitely open for interpretation and the viewer is at the very centre of the work. Rogers uses references to architectural techniques ’80s sci-fi movies and circuitry to redraw the limitations of the usual gallery experience.

Using photo-luminescent tape to outline the gallery space Wireframe occurs completely in the dark requiring the visitor to use the greenish glow from the tape to navigate the room. In an effort to create a complete imaginative space Rogers highlights flaws and distortions in the walls wainscotting wiring holes in the floor electrical panels and other areas of the room. But it is perhaps the door with the majority of detail which is the most attractive.

In making the mundane magical Rogers suggests a world beyond the simple nature of these objects. One can reasonably ask for example why he emphasized the notches in the upper-left corner of the door? What does it say about its history? Such subtle details become more realized in the imagination of the viewer and this is one of the major successes of Rogers’s work (that and the brilliant allusion to Tron the 1982 proto-Internet dystopian nightmare film ) . As in a computer system the green lines echo the circuits and boards of a grand machine emphasizing the importance of the audience’s role in creating a new reality while in it.

In its simplicity Wireframe is a clever and curious experiment. Being in the dark gilded in pale haunting greenness and hearing chatter about the work from other shadowed visitors is a smart way to create a new approach to the gallery experience.

Once the novelty of the luminescence subsides the real success of Wireframe comes into view. It’s an innovative effort to continually challenge the imagination and the essence of the object-viewer relationship and more importantly it revises the limits of what the gallery space can achieve.

Rogers offers a refreshing unique installation and fortunately doesn’t try to make it more than what it is. It’s honest and forthright and makes for esthetically and intellectually fulfilling viewing.