February 1 to February 29, 2020
Gustave Courbet’s L'Origine du monde was painted in 1866 and became famous for redefining the limits of realism and more specifically the idealized female nude, with its smooth skin and strategically placed veils.
Kentucky-based Letitia Quesenberry’s “Hyperspace 15” is presented in the Proxy Gallery as a kinetic light box utilizing semi-opaque layered shapes and LEDs. Quesenberry sees it as an attention-activation device, a curative portal.
The colored LEDs cycle slowly through a range of colors. When cycling, the combination of semi-opaque layers illuminated by the slowly changing lights creates a pulsing visual effect. Shapes and colors advance and recede in an endless hypnotic loop. The addition of the mirrors turns it into a kind of open infinity box. The use of filters, color and light as a means to activate the boundaries of optical experience, seeks to destabilize what is immediately visible. This is a different kind of veiling that reveals and conceals at the same time.
The title of this piece is the techno-sounding “Hyperspace 15,” though Quesenberry slyly adds that it could also be called “Origin of the New World,” which brings us back to the vertical vaginal shape that pulses and changes colors. While the genital shape is abstracted and even more separated from the putative body fragment in Courbet, it shares the “in-your-face” placement and the demand to be noticed and considered.