Originally presented at Locust Projects in Miami, the second iteration of this ambitious large-scale installation has been designed to engage the senses and provoke a heightened emotional state. For the duration of the exhibition, day becomes night. Upon entering the gallery, the viewer will be immersed in darkness and the rich scent of pine as they experience an especially composed soundscape by experimental jazz composer Jason Ajemian. The viewer negotiates their way through a maze of trees suspended in space and moves towards the light emitted by the film projected in the far gallery. As the regular gallery day draws to a close, timers will activate lighting, deactivate the video projection, and, for a short period, transition the space into a sculptural light installation.
Reenacting an event from her youth, Wright – dressed in a flame-colored suit – crosses a frozen lake, eventually falling through the ice into the water. The scene, filmed on Vermont’s Lake Champlain, memorializes a moment when, at the age of fifteen, she snuck into a reservoir and accidentally fell beneath its frozen surface.
With an eye to the endurance art that came before her, Wright combines form, image, and duration in a conceptual cocktail of ecstasy and anxiety. Under the water…is, more than a revisited memory or physical feat, an examination of duality—of living plants and Northeastern ice, frigid water and fiery heat, night and day. All this serves as a reminder of the fleeting, melancholic transience that is part and parcel of existence.Through the duality of light and dark, the exertion of control over elements from the natural world, and the reenactment of an incident from her life, Wright considers the fragile border that separates life and death.
1 Carney, Sean J. Patrick, “First Look: Antonia Wright,” Art in America (print), September 2016.
2 Uszerowicz, Monica, review of “Under the water was sand, then rocks, miles of rocks, then fire,” The Miami Rail, Winter 2016.