Monday, May 18, 2009

Magaly Ponce

From The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research archives, our review of Magaly Ponce's now closed February show at 5 Traverse in Providence:
On view at 5 Traverse are photos and videos by Magaly Ponce of Providence. She prints close-up photos of little light bulbs or wiring on rice paper scrolls. The gallery says that Ponce is from Chile, whose chief export is copper, and these works are ruminations on how copper fuels the economy, is used to wire bombs, has been used in torture, and so on. None of this comes through in the work, which seems to be more about beautiful little observations.

That sense of careful observation plays out in a more interesting way in Ponce's video triptych, "Hair, Matches, Bugs." On a small monitor at left, someone twists wire around their finger. On the right monitor, a pair of cicadas link butt to butt, making out, as they scurry across concrete. On the center screen, two matches stand balancing against each other atop a matchbook. When they're set alight, the heads of the two matches remain kissing as the foot of the left one lifts into the air, then settles back down again. It's a tiny magical dance. It doesn't exactly stick to the ribs, but it's delightful in its way.
Magaly Ponce, "From Remains," 5 Traverse Gallery, 5 Traverse St., Providence, Feb. 13 to March 14, 2009.


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