‘What Rises & Falls Out of Sight’: A multidisciplinary reflection on memory and nostalgia

“cracked up egg” by Mo Eldridge, on display as part of “What Rises & Falls Out of Sight.” Photo by Allegra Hobbs.

MARFA — On Friday, a group of artists — both local and visiting, spanning auditory and visual mediums — will present their collaborative installation exploring the nature of nostalgia.

What Rises & Falls Out of Sight makes use not only of the various disciplines put to work by the artists themselves — sound, film, sculpture, painting, fibers, lights — but the elements surrounding them in the old adobe ruin serving as a gallery space. The Institute for Material Interpretation, located at 307 S Dean Street, was a perfect fit for the varied installation, said Marfa artist Mo Eldridge — the conjoined rooms create a sequential viewing experience for visitors, while the material plays well with the exhibit’s sound elements, and the age-induced decay of the structure itself changes the experience as time passes.

“It changes light throughout the day, so it also has its own time sequence based on light that comes through the space,” said Eldridge.

That passage of time plays perfectly with the themes present in the collaboration — the prompt given to each artist was “nostalgia,” a concept that each responded to in a deeply individual way. Yet each element works in synchronicity with the other; in many cases, artists crafted their own works in response to others.

Oaxaca-based artist Johanna Palmieri’s “For You,” acrylic on canvas, hangs inside the The Institute for Material Interpretation space at 307 S Dean St. The piece is part of the collaborative exhibition “What Rises & Falls Out of Sight,” opening October 6 during Chinati Weekend. Photo by Allegra Hobbs.

Marfa artist Shea Carley created large, hanging paper works from the natural elements in the Big Bend. She harvested Arundo donax, a reed found along the Rio Grande, which she processed into paper, combining it with different soils found throughout the region. Alpine-based artist Clara Brill recorded sounds of the process, while Sam Fullilove, also of Alpine, captured it on video — elements that will be present in the room with the paper works. 

“It’s abstracted versions of the whole process,” said Carley. “So we’re kind of playing with nostalgia and memory and how memory is altered through experience.” (The release of Brill’s EP will happen in conjunction with the opening). 

Eldridge crafted two sculptural pieces for the show — each transparent fabric draped around wiry light fixtures, containing the light sources and casting shadows in the space. “I think for me, sometimes, there’s this importance of revisiting nostalgia with a renewed sense of joy or sometimes even comedy,” they said. 

The exhibition contains mostly the works of artists from either Marfa or Alpine — Shea Cadrin presents textile pieces crafted from found materials, while Will Floyd contributes an interactive sonic piece. The Institute for Material Interpretation has created large sculptures utilizing mirrors, reflecting the viewer back at themselves. 

“There’s kind of this through line where the pieces respond to your position around them, and then the shifting elements of the space itself,” said Eldridge.

The collaboration also includes the works of visiting artists. In the first room, viewers are met by a large quilt-like piece made up of silk, cotton, found materials and other elements, by St. Petersburg, Florida-based artist Rachel de Cuba. A large, striking acrylic painting from Johanna Palmieri of Oaxaca dominates one wall of the space. Film and sound elements are also provided by Matthew Anthony Batty, also of St. Petersburg.

While a soft opening with a sound bath took place on October 1, Friday’s opening event will include a performance by Rea Red touching on themes of memory and grief. 

The space will be open for viewing on Friday, October 6 beginning at 6 p.m. Performances will begin at 10 p.m. A closing event with sound performances will take place on November 16 at 8 p.m.