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Rusty Wallace’s “Dialogue” fails to impress

By Anna Meurer
Copy Editor


Rusty Wallace’s Dialogue went on display in the Anne Wright Wilson Gallery on Aug. 30, following a reception with the artist. Wallace, a Georgetown and UK alum, focuses mainly on sculpture, drawing and ceramics.

The work, a huge (68” x 168”) gouache on lanaquarelle and Montval aquarelle (a fancy name for opaque watercolor paint on watercolor paper), consists of 45 white rectangles arranged nine across and five down, each containing a separate element.

Describing his work, Wallace explains, “My work converses with the essence of things and of ideas; of precedence and of questioning. Its simplicity, then, is a mere beginning, a luring baited with the deformity of assumption. It is curiosity’s investment that leads to discernment, tugging in opposition to the ease of the immediate, rendering reductive clarity and overt certainty anathema to my intent.” In essence, I understand him. I do, really. Art is not just an object, it’s a process from artist to medium, medium to viewer, etc. As Wallace says, “the more you look, the more you see.”

That being said, I’m not impressed. It somewhat reminds me of John Cage’s piece 4’33.” I understand that there is a point trying to be made; stop, listen, think, interact. I get it. But that doesn’t mean that I am awed by the piece itself. The same goes for this painting. I appreciate the message but I’m not particularly drawn to the simplistic, white background with common objects. While it is not displeasing to the eye, it is not exciting either. It simply is.

Perhaps that is exactly what Wallace wants; perhaps that is his point. But, just as I’ve read and appreciated the work behind monographs without being convinced of the arguments during my research, I wasn’t sold.

The exhibit will be on display until Sept. 27. It can be viewed in the Anne Wright Wilson Gallery, which is located in the art building.