2019 - surround sound
Fort Worth Arts Center
Fort Worth, TX - 2019
Introduction by Seth Orion Schwaiger
In Surround Sound, Rachel Wolfson presents both truths without contradiction: the havoc and the fated logic at once. The entangled oscillation between a pure unadulterated observational state, and an at times frenetic, deeply emotive response to environment, resolve into peaks and troughs of a unified tone — a hum that convincingly articulates the paradoxes of the human condition and the relationship between external and internal realities.
To build such complicated resonances, Wolfson layers fragments of highly rendered imagery, broad gestural mark, tessellated patterns, and written sentence fragments across sprawling, tension-driven compositions. The common threads shared in their subject matter are peculiar instances when order and entropy can be confused or trade places with one another by the slightest shift in mental perspective. One might read the spreading of tangled ivy into negative space as clarity at risk of being overtaken — yet through Wolfson’s clever balancing act, that same imagery can invert itself, the negative space suddenly embodying the entropic, and the plant life merely following its genetic pattern with unrivaled precision to bring a sensible order to the untamed chaotic void. The entire contradiction of interpretation rests on the cognitive equivalent of squinting one’s eyes.
And there lies exposed the power of interpretive faculties, the underlying subject of so much of Wolfson’s work, the artists’ phenomenological experience itself. It is no wonder that so much of Surround Sound feels like memory, hinged as much on internal experience as it is on sensory information. The varying scale further transmits that sense of stepping into the artists mind, alternatingly providing space to enter completely into necessarily large overpowering observations, and drawn in to smaller but equally poignant quiet moments.
Ultimately, the viewer is given observation squared. Wolfson offers a personal awe of the human ability to observe our own internal observer with the same meticulous searching that the skilled draftsperson uses to traverse any physical subject.