The Space Between
Perceive not the object
but the distance
between them not the sounds
but the pauses
they leave unfilled
Takahiko Limura, from, “MA: Space/Time in the Garden of Ryoan-Ji”
The space between is a magical space. The Japanese refer to it as Ma, a concept, strongly rooted in their living patterns and in the arts. It is the space between that enables perception to occur. Ma is the place in which a life is lived, where the process of movement from one place to another is organized. Ma is the sign of the ephemeral — it is an empty place where all kinds of phenomena appear, exist and disappear. Ma is the way to sense the moment of movement.
In her latest exhibition at the Phoenix gallery, Pamela Flynn shows a series of small, meticulously executed mixed media works on paper entitled “Can the Road Kill?” In this series Flynn replicates an image of an animal that has been hit and killed on the road. At the center of each of pieces is a snapshot of a dead animal printed, cut, stitched and painted onto white paper. The dichotomy between the meticulously executed, pristine pieces and their gruesome protagonist is unsettling. Conceptually the focus of the roadkill is not the dead animal, but a metaphor through which the artist explores the ephemeral phenomenon of the space in between, the space and time between engagement and comprehension, between event and consequence.
In Caught In The Loop 1, a small rectangular digital print of a dead animal embellished with encaustics is stitched on to a white paper. Flynn’s white paper does not serve as a background. It acts as a space from which one can glean clues – a stitched line above and a sewn up twig loop below. In Pledge Of Allegiance, a victimized animal is draped in a three-colored cloth reminiscent of the American flag. The rectangular space closing in on the animal consists of a cluster of pincushion heads with two rows of holes punctured into the white paper above. Caught In The Headlights depicts an animal, perhaps a deer, lying on a gray and black wave of pincushions.
Employing labor-intense mixed media, Flynn’s work relies heavily on process art. But unlike process art, where the exploration of process is the central aim of the work, Flynn’s process calls attention to conceptual issues of action and reaction. It is the twilight zone of comprehension — the space between the act and its realization, between reality and perception.