Façade is a solo exhibition by Felecia Chizuko Carlisle. These works express Carlisle’s multi-sensual response to skyscraper architectures in Miami. The opening reception will be at the gallery on Friday, May 11, 2012, from 6 to 9 pm and the show will be on view through June 9, 2012.
Felecia Chizuko Carlisle’s sculptures all share an irregular geometry. They are trapezoids and triangles, like rectangles and right-angled shapes of skyscrapers’ elevations seen from an oblique perspective, in Carlisle’s case, from the street. The sculptures are also reflective, but beneath their reflective surfaces images of detailed views of building facades are visible. In an installation of two of the objects, Carlisle projects a slide onto their surfaces. The show will also include wall reliefs and sculptures.
Skyscrapers are an invasive architecture. They are built with little regard for indigenous styles or local histories. They began as solutions for urban housing in a small footprint, and were revolutionized with the inventions of the elevator and air conditioning. Clusters of modernist skyscrapers, incredibly tall, glass and steel buildings, became dominant features of urban skylines around the world. Twentieth century expressions of alienation often occur with the cold edifices as symbols of impenetrability. If living or working inside one of these buildings, their superficiality can fade, into individual experiences of partitioned space. Carlisle lives and works on a small organic farm in Miami’s Little River, an inner city neighborhood adjacent to Little Haiti and a warehouse district. Her studio is in another warehouse district, Wynwood, whose own facades now sport an idiosyncratic mixture of murals. From her perspective, she is always a street-level observer of skyscrapers.
She writes that she imagines “the acoustic vibrations that reflect from their surfaces as physical shapes that shatter, divide, and dissolve. The dominant forms breaking the local skyline are like giant ships waiting at port. They seem indifferent as I drift amongst them. They tower above me, drawing my attention to their endless, geometries and away from street level chaos and flux. Their orderliness has an imposing rhythm and recalls the inhumanity of certain forms of electronic music or experimental noise. They are patterns of constancy anchored deeply into the landscape; yet feel as if at any moment they could float away, leaving behind them the possibility of a new kind of architecture.”
As an outsider to the systems housed by this architecture, Carlisle shares in a public experience of these buildings. In this exhibition, she translates her multi-sensual responses to the environment created by skyscrapers with acute consciousness. These buildings have not been built for people like her. Carlisle cites Jane Bennet’s Vibrant Matter, a book exploring the dynamics of urban environments from the perspective of political ecology, as a reference point. Bennett considers humans to be a part of, not centers of such an ecology. It is important to Carlisle how Bennett describes that objects well up as things that have vibrancy, a thing being something that resonates with us. The traditional subject/object relational perspective falls away with the acknowledgement that non-human things actively contribute to the ecological system in which humans live. That is, skyscrapers, monuments to more than one hundred years of competition and innovation, form a relational network all their own with their own energy.
The mirrors in Carlisle’s reflective sculptures amplify, energize and lend motion and vibrancy to static objects. “The visual,” Carlisle writes, “becomes a network. We are often looking for ourselves in mirrors, but in this case, the mirrors are used as a way to push space. Light and shadow come alive, making the thing more itself. The mirror amplifies sonic and objective resonance.”
Felecia Chizuko Carlisle, a native Floridian, received her MFA from the New Genres department at San Francisco Art Institute, in 2006. She has explored a variety of contexts for her work including television in Madrid, Spain, and Moab, Utah, nightclubs in Hamburg, Germany and San Francisco, and has shown in various national and international galleries, museums and public spaces. In June 2012, Carlisle will show work in In Residence, curated by Jane Simon at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. Carlisle was recently included in Wedding Crashers, a group show curated by Ralph Provisero of site-responsive sculpture at the Deering Estate in Miami, FL. She was also in New Work 2010, a group exhibition at the Miami Art Museum. Her research in art focuses on the complex relationship between real and virtual space, navigating the territories between the two. Her work draws from and combines multiple disciplines such as performance, installation, sound, design, architecture, sculpture and photography. Her work is on view at the Martin Z. Margulies Collection in Miami, FL. Carlisle currently maintains a studio in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami, FL. She is represented by Dorsch Gallery.