The elongated room on the second floor of the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena proves to be a space well-suited to Over and Over, an exhibition curated by Irene Tsatsos of video loops by media artist Pascual Sisto, who was raised in Barcelona and went to school in LA, earning a BFA from Art Center and an MFA from UCLA.
To the left as you enter the space is a large-scale projection of Over the Rainbow, a single-channel piece showing a zigzagging line of freeway overpasses with cars whizzing along in opposite directions. The image is at once entirely familiar to LA residents, many of whom travel across the city's densely layered freeway structures daily, and equally impossible. The pleasure of the piece is in reveling in this contradiction, and enjoying the play of whimsy and sly commentary.
Two large monitors sit on the floor halfway through the space. On one is Nonsense, showing a large black, undulating circle against a white background. The edges of the circle ripple in concert with what sounds like a low roar of industrial noise. By far the most enigmatic piece in the show, Nonsense seems to seek a philosophical grounding as a black hole or cypher while also privileging perception, and the ability to glean the line between sense and nonsense.
The second monitor features Flight Patterns, a split-screen piece juxtaposing planes flying in carefully orchestrated arrangements and birds flapping and gliding also in formation. Quite simple conceptually, the piece nevertheless achieves a blithe playfulness with its looping repetitions, refusing some simplistic comparison between the birds and planes, and offering instead a series of pleasurable visual patterns. This piece might be better served as a larger projection, but its bold visual design hold up well enough even on the floor.
The final piece in the show is projected on the gallery's other wall, toward the right as you enter. Titled 28 Years in the Implicate Order, the video shows a parking lot at night, carefully framed with a tree in the center and light illuminating the space. Twenty-eight balls drop at once, and continue to bounce according to their own disparate rhythms until they reach synchronization again, only to bounce back into randomness in an unending loop. This piece perhaps best captures the sense that repetition, loops and cycles are engendered by difference. We can only witness each iteration through some kind of comparison with something different from it.
The show overall is a terrific introduction to an emerging artist's perspective, and with its attention to the imaginary spaces of the city, forms a great complement to the Armory's exhibition of photographs of Southern California titled Street Sight, curated by Tim Wride. Street Sight features compelling images by more than a dozen artists, including Ed Ruscha, Robbert Flick and Jane O'Neal, some of them iconic and core to the very identity of the region and a topography understood often through its streets, and others simply stunning images of our SoCal home.
Over and Over and Street Sight will be up through September 11, 2011.