Sunday, June 16, 2024

A work by Brittni Ann Harvey at the List Visual Arts Center. (Photo: Claire Ogden)

On view for three more weeks, the last List Projects exhibition of this year’s season includes work by Brittni Ann Harvey and Harry Gould Harvey IV, the Fall River artists known for launching Fall River MoCA in 2020. Rich with religious imagery and repurposed materials, the show lights up the Bakalar Gallery in Cambridge’s Kendall Square – a fitting commemoration of the series’ 10th anniversary.

The List Projects series is an endlessly interesting curatorial exercise and always feels fresh. Known for pairing artists with a history of collaboration, it shows existing pieces alongside one new joint commission. It lets the artists speak for themselves and with each other, with only the necessary curatorial pontificating.

A detail of the Brittni Ann Harvey work – an electronic-age woven work. (Photo: Claire Ogden)

This particular show is memorable and mystifying. Brittni Ann Harvey’s “robot dog” sculptures add an unsettling energy to the space, and her tapestries – based off of her own drawings, but woven electronically with an Itema loom – mix religious imagery, flattening eras and cultures into something that feels timeless, placeless, almost alien. According to the wall labels, the machine-produced textiles differ slightly in color, shading and texture from the drawings, which “are, for the artist, welcome artifacts of a digital translation process that itself reflects the tensions between automation and handwork.”

Harry Gould Harvey IV’s works are equally esoteric and puzzling. A large sculpture features wood salvaged from Belcourt Castle, a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, and juxtaposes these older materials with newer finds from Fall River. Alongside it, smaller wooden frames hold intricate, Dada-esque drawings of angels, devils, flags and flames.

Work by Harry Gould Harvey IV at the List. (Photo: Claire Ogden)

Modern New Englanders are accustomed to our cute post-industrial towns, many with their own commercially friendly art districts. But the gap between post-industrial buildings and their kitschy interiors can be unnerving. Perhaps there’s something disquieting about this disparity between the industrial and information economies. It’s visual evidence of the ways technological developments require and often supplant human labor, and a reminder that what comes after in the wake of that replacement is anyone’s guess. The Harveys are on to something – in the age of AI psychobabble, these themes are timely and haunting.[

“List Projects 29: Brittni Ann Harvey & Harry Gould Harvey IV” is on view through June 23 at the List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames St., Kendall Square, Cambridge. Free.


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