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June 14, 2013

Project 308 show is a three-artist collaborative installation

Tonawanda News — You might want to bring a hard hat for the latest show at Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda.

The show, “nonsense ≥ no sense,” is a three-artist installation collaboration that’s a little reminiscent of perhaps a large mousetrap — as in the board game — gallery owner Natalie Brown said. 

The centerpiece of the show is a large device down the center of the gallery made up of gadgets, pulleys, moving parts and bits and bobbles, some of which move, while others invoke a sense of absurdity or whimsy.

Recent University at Buffalo graduates Ian McCrohan — who just received his bachelor’s degree — and Ruby Merritt and Necole Zayatz — who got their master’s degrees — came together to build this installation, along with other pieces on the walls, right there in the gallery over the past week.

“I think their main vision is based on kinetics,” Brown said. “They’re just really interested in movement and audience interaction with that movement.”

Merritt — who normally works with more organic media like dirt and evaporated water, and printmaking — explained that the large, central structure in the show is meant to be evocative of machinery used to manufacture other things. Something perhaps akin to an assembly line.

She said the piece is a commentary on society’s process of production.

Our structure suggests using “ten times the amount of energy to make a cupcake or a pile of salt or a crystal,” for example, she said. “It’s an operation to a means that’s so unnecessary or absurd or hints at a little kitschiness.”

In other words, like Willie Wonka’s everlasting gobstopper machine, the structure has a whole lot of bells and whistles and moving parts just to make one tiny product.

The installation is made up of found objects the three artists have collected over the course of years, before they planned the current project or even knew each other. Most of the collecting, the group agreed, was handled by Zayatz, the one artist who’s had the most experience working with found-object art.

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