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Equal parts enthralling and bewildering, MAGMA SLIT doesn’t pander to the human eye. Instead, artist Donna Huanca whisks you from the daily grind, casting you into an otherworldly land of oddity.
When you enter this immersive exhibit at Henry Art Gallery, the first thing you may notice is a peculiar soundtrack. Composed by Huanca with spliced recordings from her life, including muffled voices and pattering rain, the cadence transitions from unsettling to comforting.
Next, you may notice four larger-than-life paintings depicting each season. The paintings came from an array of digitally printed photographs from Huanca’s life, patchworked into canvases. Overlaid with splashes of seasonal hues, glimpses of the underlying natural textures give each painting a special kind of vitality. This reflects the real world, condensed into one electrifying, boggling room.
In the center of these paintings lies a stark white stage. On it stand seven statues scattered across the platform. Six of them, white and each less than a few feet tall, were fashioned through pummels and kicks—indentations of knuckles and shoe marks are visibly imprinted in them. The seventh, triple in size and made of aluminum, features numerous handles bizarrely protruding from it.
Most intriguing of all are the six reflective, holey sheets aligned down the stage. If you peer into them, fragments of the paintings meld together, creating an ever-changing scene. This kaleidoscope effect masterfully weaves modernity with nature. With the pitting of winter’s glacial blues against summer’s striking reds, paintings from opposing sides of the room will contend for your attention in a waging war.
📸: Jonathan Vanderweit courtesy of the Henry Art Gallery
Lily is a comic artist who lives vicariously through the outlandish escapades of the beans in her Billy the Bean comics. An active legume enthusiast and creative writer, she has discovered the cure to writer’s block is indulging in absolute nonsense (while consuming beans of course). She hopes to inspire those around her to incorporate lots of fun and fiber into their daily diets.