10 Downing

Leslie Eastman & Natasha Johns-Messenger

December 7 2011-January 4 2012

In Conjunction with No Longer Empty NYC


Pointform 2 (Taxi Yellow), Rosco Mirror, Steel frames, perspex

Event Horizon Near, Leslie Eastman, Acrylic screen, optical lens, natural light

Event Horizon Near, Leslie Eastman, Acrylic screen, optical lens, natural light

Synoptic 3, Custom fabricated video and camera headware, wireless transmitters and receivers, participants.

Vertical Neon, Natasha Johns Messenger, fabricated corridor, mirrors, participants

Australian artists Leslie Eastman and Natasha Johns-Messenger play with light and space in illuminating, entertaining ways in the phenomenological — and extremely fun — exhibition "XYZ:NYC 10 Downing." Using both natural and electric light, mirrors, and stretched mirror film and employing Cartesian geometry, Eastman, who lives and works in Melbourne, and the New York City-based Johns-Messenger create a unique experience for each visitor through a series of site-responsive areas. Referencing Matisse, Magritte, and Vermeer as well as Eliasson, Graham, and even Höller, "XYZ:NYC" consists of five architectural works that literally turn perception upside down and inside out. In Johns-Messenger's "Vertical Neon," a narrow, angled passageway contains numerous mirrors that confuse and delight on the way to the source of a glowing light. Eastman's "Event Horizon Far" is a live video stream of the beautiful view from the artist's Melbourne studio projected onto a small screen hanging from the ceiling, while "Event Horizon Near" is a camera obscura presentation of the traffic passing by on Sixth Ave., lighting up a rectangular frame in the shape of a Vermeer painting. Eastman and Johns-Messenger, who have been collaborating since 2004, team up on "Pointform," a pair of triangular corner spaces that alter reality and perception, one seemingly cutting the body out in the middle, the other, "Synoptic 3," including a headset worn by two people that, well, to say any more would be giving it away, so make sure to RSVP for a specific time as soon as you can. "XYZ:NYC" is not merely a group of optical illusions and gimmicky tricks; instead it is a carefully constructed interventionist installation that subverts and disrupts classical perspective, depending on viewer engagement to bring it all together. The show is an excellent example of the work done by No Longer Empty, a nonprofit organization that curates site-specific exhibitions in temporary public spaces, working with the community through education and cultural programming to help promote new ways of looking at and experiencing art.

Mark Rivkin,  This Week in New York