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RISD Museum's 'Collision' melds works, lacks cohesiveness

Covering a large wall of the Lower Farago Gallery at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the slogan "What looks good today may not look good tomorrow" sums up "Collision" — an ephemeral experience that still seems ready for change.

A giant amalgamation spanning the walls, floor and ceiling, the exhibit brings together the work of 17 different artists.

"Context is everything," according to artist Marilyn Minter, quoted in the exhibit's brochure. "When one art piece is placed adjacent to another, it completely changes the meaning of both."

There were no rules for the artists' pieces, which mesh and overlap with other works in the exhibit, reflecting this freedom. It is the ultimate creative expression.

On one side of the gallery, strands of tape covered in paint drape the walls, with the roll of masking tape still attached to one strand. This detail gives the feeling of incompleteness — an exhibit that is still under construction.

There were many blank, white cubes in the exhibit. Some were left empty, while others held sculptures or were decorated. Nicole Cherubini designed ceramic corners for many of the blocks, embellishing blank spaces with bright colors and metallic geometric figures.

"I love the lines, and I love the mobiles," said visitor Kaki Accola '82, referring to Susan Jenning's metallic ornaments that descend from the ceiling. She also mentioned Jackie Saccoccio and Nader Tehrani's work "Tight Imprisonment,"  which consisted of colored thread hanging down.

Another visitor, Alan Woodmansee, said he was "struck" by Carl D'Alvia's seemingly furry, animal-like sculptures. D'Alvia's pieces were actually constructed with bronze or resin, which made their furry-ness even more striking.

Ebbing and flowing, the overall exhibit shows true artistic collaboration, but, despite individual talent, feels incomplete.  The ephemerality of "Collision" results in a gallery full of unfinished pieces.

"Collision" is open at the Lower Farago Gallery at the RISD Museum through Jun. 19.

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