Thursday, September 29, 2011
Teparu, one of many possible recombinations of letters that make up the Spanish word for door (puerta), is the nonsensical word that Ian Umlauf chooses to refer to each of the works in his current exhibition at PLYWOOD. Using discarded hollow-core doors as his primary medium, Umlauf suggests new use-value for the quotidien and the rejected. By cutting and reorganizing the doors into new configurations, re-purposing the doors' skeletal structures as readymade printing presses, and integrating inkjet prints and found posters into the mix, the artist challenges the viewer to adjust, reconsider, and adapt their relationship to simple objects and imagery. Umlauf's interest in the atmosphere of mediated images, and the quasi-cubistic effect of multiple perspectives become evident as one weaves through the exhibition, leaning towards, glancing up, forgetting, chuckling. Formal relationships such as mirroring, repetition, and flipping are presented through visual conundrums to establish themes and to draw out conflated perspectives and spaces. These subtle disorientations and the short-circuiting of perceptual flow ideally serve to heighten the viewer's self-awareness in relation to the teparus. If this is too high an order, then a simple appreciation for the technology of hollow-core door manufacturing will do.