Clouds have been inspiring daydreams and flights of fancy ever since the first person looked up and said, “That looks kinda like my aunt Ethel!” While we now have a clearer understanding of what clouds are, we still have a fascination with these ephemeral metrological phenomena.
Japanese artist Yasuaki Onishi’s new creation, Reverse, gets imaginations going in much the same way. Created on site at the Rice Gallery in Houston, Reverse floats in the foyer and seems to be made of a whole lot of nothing. Onishi created Reverse by stacking cardboard boxes on top of one another and then draping them with a sheet of diaphanous, translucent plastic. Hot black glue was then dripped from the ceiling onto the plastic sheet. Once the glue had dried, the boxes were removed leaving the sheet floating in mid-air. Like the best conceptual art, Reverse is arresting to the eye as well as the mind. It relates not only to the negative space in the gallery, filling it, but at the same time defines the mountainous space left by the boxes. This rough mold of the boxes becomes the work itself. So we are seeing art in reverse, with what would normally be the final object being used as a tool to create the work itself. Despite the delicate nature of the materials, Reverse seems to make an impenetrable wall. Passage only becomes available when the viewer walks around the work and sees the tunnel to the rest of the gallery.
Reverse piques interest through its insubstantial and at the same time monolithic form, and elicit a number of comparisons to all those flimsy yet insurmountable obstacles we come across in our lives.