Published February 2nd, 2011
Walk into the Cult of Personality
By Heidi De Vries
In a gallery that has displayed Mark McCloud’s LSD blotter art and the post-apocalyptic interactive sculpture of Josh Short, it’s no surprise the curators would make the bold move of turning the space over to Chris Ritson. Ritson makes art that is almost alchemical in nature, incorporating crystals he has grown as well as other wonders of the natural world. He fuses an interest in science with investigations into personal identity. With his exhibition “In the Kingdom of Charisma,” Ritson is the first to make use of the gallery’s semiannual residency program, in which artists take three weeks to convert the “white box” space into an immersive installation. Ritson uses video and mixed media to explore how we become drawn to certain personalities, those powerful figures who seem to possess an otherworldly attractiveness whether they are celebrities or politicians. It’s brave for a commercial gallery to give an artist this amount of latitude in its space, but the results are nothing if not hypnotic.
The opening party for “In the Kingdom of Charisma” starts at 6 p.m.