Jillian Conrad: DEVIN BORDEN GALLERY
King, Jenifer, Artforum International
Had Stan Brakhage been a sculptor rather than a filmmaker, he might have made works like Jillian Conrad's recent projection pieces on view this winter at Devin Borden Gallery. For Brakhage, film was essentially made up of the shadows cast by film stock as it passed in front of a projector's light. As he described in his "Manifesto'1 of 1992, "each smudge a filmmaker puts upon filmstrip is interference with the flickering window-of-white." Film, he declared, "is projective huhris-of-form interruptivc of purest incandescence.11
Conrad's flag (all works 2011), one of two projection works in "Splits,11 a spare four-piece exhibition, was composed of just such disruptions. The first intervention involved bits of opal suspended in a shard of resin that was affixed to a slide and inserted into the empty gate of a projector-perched about six inches off the floor. The white light of the projector was thus interrupted by the jagged outline and opalescent colors of the resin fragment even before it beamed diagonally across the darkened room coward a freestanding perpendicular wall. The second interruption came from a simple prop--a milky Plexiglas rectangle fixed on one edge to a wooden brace by a brass clamp. Resting against the wall, the prop appeared much like a flag as it intercepted the path of the projector's light. Given this setup, the Plexi simultaneously blocked part of the projection--cutting a sharp trapezoidal shadow out of the projection on the wall--and diverted the light onto (and through) itself, both front and back illuminated with the opaband-resin-inflected light.
Arch tie, the other projection-based work in this show, demonstrated a similar double-intcrruptive structure, which again incorporated an unorthodox slide configuration: Here, before being placed in the gate of a slide projector, the mount was fitted with a piece of raw-edged woven fabric. Conrad then directed the light beam straight at the opposite wad of the gallery, where it was met by a provisional wooden frame fashioned from two perpendicularly opposed two-by-fours (each painted white on two sides) and a third, narrower piece, set slightly off the grid. …