Bryant Locher's "Folded Space" at Gallery 13

Bryant Locher 

Bryant Locher 

For "Folded Space," at Gallery 13, artist Bryant Locher draws from a rather bizarre moment in history when art and military strategy joined forces. Beginning in World War I and continuing through World War II, British and American ships would sometimes be painted with optical-illusion designs aimed at confusing the enemy. In theory, the enemies targeting these ships (of various kinds and shapes) would be unable to determine how far away they were or which piece of the ship they were looking at. The concept, called "dazzle camaflouge," didn't work very well, but the technique lived on in the art world, inspiring artists such as Pablo Picasso.


In "Folded Space," Locher plays with mismatched patterns as well, layering linear shapes amidst more skewed ones, overlapping them so you don't know which one is "in front" and which is "behind." There's a juxtaposition of solid colors and atomized hues, so at times it looks as if there's a crack in the painting, a kind of vortex that leads to some other dimension. 

To create these works, Locher uses spray paint and masking tape (a process you can view by checking out this video by Minneapolis Creates). This technique results in very clean lines, but there's nothing symmetrical about this work. It's this slight off-centeredness that is the most intriguing aspect of these pieces. 

The most successful works are the ones where the contrast is at the highest. For example, in one piece, Locher builds the outside borders of the painting with black and gray stripes interlocking in a pattern, with a yellow-checkered bolt of lighting striking through it. On top of that -- or behind; it's not really clear -- there are three triangles that resemble sky or some kind of atmosphere. These triangles are so different in tone and texture to the rest of the piece, it's almost as if they are from another painting altogether. They draw you in, enticing you to step through the portal. 

At times, these paintings can be confusing in that there's just so much going on that it gets muddy. The most successful pieces are the simplest ones: a silvery geometric creature-type thing slithering amidst a sea of turquoise and purple lines, with a few dabs of checkered orange and yellow to confuse things. It's the more simple works that give just confusion to let you stay with the piece to try to figure it out -- even though that is ultimately impossible.  


Bryant Locher 

Bryant Locher 

"Folded Space"

Through July 26

Gallery 13

811 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis

Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

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