"Atmospheric Front" at Flashpoint Gallery Tuesday, Aug. 7

For a region so recently shaken by a derecho , an exhibit titled “Atmospheric Front” sounds ominous. The installation at Flashpoint isn’t so scary, but it doesn’t quite live up to its potential. In their first artistic collaboration, two sisters from Northern Virginia, Hana and Shana Kim, suspend cotton twine from the gallery’s ceiling using wires attached to a series of pulleys and motion sensors, so that the weblike forms shift and morph when a visitor walks by. It’s an inspired idea, but the project’s sometimes-balky mechanics and the work’s limited degree of shape-shifting fall short of what other moving installations have accomplished at Flashpoint, notably Janell Olah’s translucent plastic ducts, which inflated when air rushed through the gallery’s HVAC system. Of the three hand-knit pieces that make up the Kims’ installation, two resemble a hammock shape, with netting that doesn’t look nearly sturdy enough to support an average-size person. A more intriguing shape is the third, which is flatter and tilted at a steeper angle, looking like it’s just unloaded a pile of invisible junk onto the ground.

“Atmospheric Front” runs noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays to Aug. 18 at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. Free. culturaldc.org. (202) 315-1305.

Our Readers Say

Why in the reviewer's opinion is the gauge for successful "moving art" the quantitative "degree of shape shifting," and why --given an atmospheric allusion-- would one choose to attribute interest to the fields' likeness to literal figures?

To me, it seems that the restrained use of technology might contribute to its success; that the wonder might start to occur in the subtlety of its responsive shifts and the potentially overlooked intricacy of the connective knots, calculated codes and layered shadows that infuse the work with its form and breath.
Modern technology has granted us numerous paths to instant gratification and shortened our attention spans, while remaining largely hidden behind slick, machine-made surfaces. In this context, I found the Kims' melding of technology and craft to be both thought-provoking and beautiful, and my experience of the exhibit differed greatly from Mr. Jacobson's. The movements of the knitted membranes and their delicate shadows are at first almost imperceptible; the installation asks for time, stillness and observation, as the subtle, breath-like motion gradually increases, rewarding (and responding to) a patient viewer. The hand-made pulleys and visible mechanics are evidence of the time and craft that have gone into the making (not manufacture) of this intricate machine. Perhaps that is why it feels so distinctly alive — atmospheric but also animal.

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