Forget the ink blot. There’s no better Rorschach test than a work of art. Its interpretation owes as much or more to the personal and cultural baggage the viewer brings as to the artist’s intentions. Exhibit A: “Seepages,” an engaging group show at Whitespace, which I reviewed for the AJC.
Caroline Lathan-Stiefel, its curator and star, based the show on the theme of porous boundaries between urban, suburban and natural spaces, an idea that has animated her work for some time. The Atlanta native, now living in Philadelphia, invited artists who share her interests — six Philly peers and Atlantan John Otte — to participate. Each contributed smaller works, hung in the first gallery, and large-scale pieces expressly made for the second gallery.
“Hinterlands,” an installation she made with Otte and spouse Van Stiefel, suggests an artist in command of her materials and ideas. As in the past, Lathan-Stiefel has built a spidery network made of pipe cleaners twisted into a variety of patterns, which creeps along a collaged wall designed by Otte, across the ceiling and onto the floor.
Though one might enjoy the piece as a wondrous transformation of trash and common materials, Otte’s contribution shifts its effect to the dark side.
Note: Lathan-Stiefel is among the 25 artists who won a commission from Flux Projects.