Exactly how it ought to be: The final week of Dance is the New Visual Art

Due to bad weather, Claire Barratt’s multimedia art installation at The Flood Gallery went a little under the radar when it opened three weeks ago. If you still haven’t seen it, don’t worry: Barratt will be hosting a special closing reception this Saturday, Jan. 29, from noon to 4 p.m.

Dance is the new Visual Art includes six videos of Barratt performing what she refers to as “movement sculpture.” The videos were produced in collaboration with an ensemble of media artists including musician Kimathi Moore and videographer Michael Folliet, who worked with Barratt on an arresting piece entitled Luna.

The videos are projected simultaneously onto the walls and on TVs and LCD screens nestled into giant mounds of paper, luminescent fabrics, paper tendrils, doilies and nests of paper curlicues. In daylight, the depth of these paper constructions is magnified. At night, the video art takes center stage. A composition of ambient noise fills the gallery; the sounds contribute an altered experience to the video projections. Visitors to the gallery are invited to listen in on each video through headphones — an act that demands a whole new level of focus from the viewer.

Barratt shines not only as a performance artist, but also in her ability to push boundaries. Something that is in danger of being overly sentimental — such as her fairytale video “Chloe” — maintains interest with its odd camera angles, rough edits and offbeat costuming. Though it’s not clear how the videos conceptually relate to each other, or to the paper surrounding them, it all works as an exercise in serendipity. In a moment when two videos randomly sync up with a crunching sound and a gestural movement, one gets the feeling that everything is exactly how it ought to be.

Dance is the new Visual Art is on display at Flood during gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The closing reception takes place Saturday, Jan. 29 from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information about Claire Barratt, visit http://www.cillavee.com.

Flood Gallery is located at 109 Roberts St. in the River Arts District. 254-2166 or http://www.floodgallery.org

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