Steve King’s exhibition, Corrugated Space at the CBU Gallery in Riverside, CA, is a simple, minimal installation, with large prints attached to a piece of wood, and floating a few inches off the wall, creating the sense that the images, and the subjects they depict, are part of a surreal landscape in an alien environment. At the entrance to the gallery is the artist’s statement, that in part read: “These seemingly alien picnic table/ sun shelters/ architectural structures sit between parking areas and the dunes at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. They are situated both inside the White Sands Missile Test Range, just outside the town of Alamogordo, and not far from the Trinity site, where the first atomic bomb exploded…”. There is a stark simplicity to both the beautiful inkjet photographs and the installation that suggest the place and things photographed.
In one of the images we see the picnic tables, one lined up behind another with a sharp dark shadow circulating the area in front. It’s perfectly framed. The lines in the corrugated structure encourage your eyes to explore every groove captured from the roof shading the table. You are easily lost in how the lines curve and bring your focus all the way to the background. That brilliant white sand in the background reminds me of some beach where people should be drinking Mai Tais, but instead, I am brought back to reality to deal with the desolation of what it is to be standing in the middle of nowhere, lost in the desert.
Steve King’s exhibit left me contemplating the notion of how we find tranquility and a sense of complete bliss where there should be none, and how architecture can look so majestic when it sits in the middle of where such a destructive event occurred. His work not only brings a historical connection to the outside world, but it also very eloquently manipulates how we the viewer observe the architectural imagery before us.
Steve King’s: Corrugated Space Architecture of the Unbuilt World exhibition is in the CBU Gallery until November 21, 2015.