Through the simplicity of an art installation, a Peoria-based artist has fostered relationships between the nature of found materials and the interpretive impulses of the mind of the viewer.
The Merwin Gallery at IWU in Bloomington hosts the latest exhibition from artist Bill Conger. To Open Windows is a spare exhibition that invites an investment of viewer interpretation of the two works on display. Conger was excited by the perfectly symmetrical space of the large gallery, and created a large piece just for the show. It's a large rectangle of mussed green parachute material.
"I'm really excited to have this experience," declared Conger. "With regards to the title of the show, To Open Windows, the titles that I create are purposely ambiguous to some degree. They also can be abstracted in terms of how you hear them. If I write to open windows, there's a specific way you might read it. But if I say it, you're not really sure if I mean a number or what have you. So there are many ways of discerning what this is, which is purposeful."
Finding abstraction in place we inhabit everyday is an idea that inspired Conger. "When I bring language into a gallery situation, it all the sudden becomes something different and we have to think about it in a different way. So for me that is potential to push what I'm talking about is abstraction historically, and how we gage and make sense of the world and the things that we do everyday. And by shifting that context a bit, I think that's what helps me propel the mystery of the pieces, as well, because they're all so very simple, like languages. What I'm trying to do with these objects is to provide an experience that I have had with them which provides the viewer a place to meditate on them, to obsess on them, to think through their formal qualities, and then investigate the title and the context that I provide for them."
Many different things could be interpreted or projected onto the large swath of fabric on the floor, explained Conger. It could be waves, a grave, a landscape or more. The viewers are allowed to read whatever they wish. "If the piece does its job," added Conger. "It can resonate with the viewer long after they've left this space."
The show is up at the Merwin Gallery through March 30.
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