One might instinctively raise an eyebrow or two (one in surprise, the other admiringly) when learning that the young, Venice (CA.)-based artist Flora Kao holds both a B.A. from Harvard in Environmental Science and Public Policy and a B.F.A from Otis College of Art and Design. Yet after attending this exhibition viewers will instantly perceive Kao’s academic template formed the perfect foundation for her work’s seamless blend of heart and head.
"Sound Forest," 2009, sound sensors,
motors, batteries, wire, wood, fishing
line, cardboard tubes & Styrofoam, 56" -
72" high x variable width & depth.
"City Studies 1," 2009, acrylic
silkscreen on Rives BFK, 30" x 44".
"Clone Cubicle," 2007, acrylic
silkscreen on panel, 48" x 60".
"Resale Landscape," 2009, acrylic
silkscreen on vellum, 96" x 120".
|Of course, while even the best artists can’t uncover all of a city’s parking lots to put up the paradise they once may have paved, they do create art in which the human spirit finds sympathetic company and in which the mind delights. Kao’s room-sized installation titled “Sound Forest,” is such a work, with its ensemble of constructivist, sculpture-like instruments built from ordinary cardboard mailing tubes, round Styrofoam tortilla warmers, electronic sound sensing devices, and fishing line. Threaded from top to bottom, this modest band of recycled everydayness quite literally breaks out into heavenly chords, triggered into their music by the sound sensors on the floor, whose wire tentacles respond to the gallery’s ambient sounds by twirling furiously in elliptical dervishes, while plucking the strings mounted on the sculptures as they spin. Whew!|