Inflatable Deities at Visual Voice

Inflatable Deities at Visual Voice

It’s a psychedelic dream. My gallery has been transformed into a giant 1970s album cover, complete with day-glow colours, black light, and a pile of vintage TV monitors. I allowed the Inflatable Deities (Jessica Mensch and Emily Pelstring) free reign, knowing that the best art happens when you allow artists to do their thing. Emily has shown at Visual Voice twice before, and I love her work. She focuses on installation art, but she also does some beautiful academic work (I own one of the watercolours from her series “My Top Ten Favourite Child Actresses With My Top Ten Favourite Wild Animals”). The first time I saw Jessica’s work was at Red Bird Gallery where she performed with Emily in a piece titled Abortion Spa (see my earlier post). Jessica paints stunning, atmospheric portraits of her circle of friends, but when teamed up with Emily she has expanded her practice to include video, performance, and sound.

Here is a video of Jessica and Emily in action, painting the gallery for the show Strange Shapes Seen in the Sky:

When I caught up with the Inflatable Deities this spring they had just finished their residency at Studio XX and were performing a video, sound, and performance piece called Slow Drip. I shot some video while I was there, but what I didn’t manage to capture due to the low lighting was the finale of their show: a ride on a giant inflatable bubble. The duo sat in the centre of the deflated, transparent sphere and stayed there as it was slowly filled with air through a giant hose. As the bubble inflated the two artists were lifted to the ceiling of the room, like two birds in a nest. Then the air was cut off and they floated gently back to the ground. It was one of those performances which was as much to watch as it must have been for Jessica and Emily to perform.

Here is the Slow Drip video I shot at Studio XX:

Sadly, their show Strange Shapes Seen in the Sky ends this weekend, and next week they will have to paint the gallery’s wall back to white (after using a few gallons of primer). That’s the thing about installations – they are ephemeral. But that makes them, and the time you have to see them, just that more precious. For more about this show, check out the gallery’s webpage.

Visual Voice Art Gallery
Belgo Building
Inflatable Deities
Strange Shapes Seen in the Sky
May 12 – 28, 2011

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