The rooms of Artspace at 50 Orange St. look like a child’s playroom gone berserk. “Soft,” an exhibit including the art of a Yale alum and an Art School professor, features pillows scattered around the room and parts of stuffed animals sewn together into contorted figures.
“Soft” is a collection of pieces that gallery director Denise Markonish said “are playing with the notions of soft versus hard.”
As part of its exploration of softness, the exhibit offers a hodgepodge of pieces in a variety of styles. One of the pieces is simply a series of rocks arranged in cases. Another piece, titled “My Goose,” features a wheelbarrow filled with a large, white cushion.
An entire room of the gallery is devoted to a piece titled “Synth,” by Leo Villareal ’90. The room is pitch black, except for a shifting pattern of lights projected on the wall. As the lights psychedelically twist and change colors, metallic buzzing sounds play in the background.
“He works with light and using light to define spaces in a sculptured way,” Markonish said.
“Synth” is one of two pieces by Villareal on display. According to Villareal, both use modern technology to imitate the living world.
“Each of these works has been created through highly artificial technological processes,” Villareal said. “Yet there is something organic, something living about all of them.”
Villareal also said his art represents a teeming world that could exist at a molecular or an astronomic scale.
“[The pieces] operate on the threshold of our perception, enticing us to understand and decode them,” Villareal said. “What results is a slippery abstraction that encourages release, a letting go.”
Other pieces in the exhibit are the work of Clint Jukkala, a lecturer at the Art School. In both of Jukkala’s pieces, pastel-colored lines form geometric patterns as they turn and intersect across the canvas.
“[The pieces] are really about taking the structure of the grid — and softening that structure both in color and in form,” Markonish said.
Jukkala related his artwork to the relationship between nature and technology.
“I see the paintings as moving from something static and ordered to something that is more organic and fairly chaotic,” Jukkala said.
In addition to “Soft,” the gallery also has a smaller exhibit on display. “When Animals Attack IV” by Marci MacGuffie uses abrasive colors and sharp lines to create abstract depictions of animals.
The title piece takes up an entire wall of the room. It combines plexiglass, string and paint and shows a black-and-white striped ball inside massive jaws reaching from floor to ceiling. According to Markonish, the piece shows a crocodile devouring a zebra. The use of various media gives the piece a three-dimensional quality.
Both exhibits will be shown until Feb. 1. Gallery intern Lauren Burke ’05 said Artspace changes exhibits every few months, bringing in a curator to choose the artists and pieces that will be displayed.