Optical Delusion at Survival Kit

Kristina Kuhn, Motel #3

Kristina Kuhn is a sculptor and installation artist who is currently living and working in Cleveland. She studied sculpture and expanded media at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Since then she has gone on to participate in group shows and display her work in a handful of alternative venues. Her new, first-ever solo exhibition, Optical Delusion, encases her most recent body of work.

The show incorporates a multitude of stage-like installations, taking the form of sculptures and paintings. The work of Optical Delusion invites viewers to question their assumed boundaries of perception. In today’s increasingly complex culture, we tend to view previously formed structures as fixed, thus subconsciously accepting the many illusions that shape our understanding of reality. Optical Delusion calls upon us to question what makes up reality, and it reflects an intense incentive for changing the way we understand and structure the world around us.

The work takes place in between two worlds. One is known and the other unknown—a visual limbo, an empty stage open to reorganization and contemplation. Forms and images display patterns and shapes that imply infinite space and time properties. These visual planes allow the audience to practice alternative perception techniques as well as reflect on the subjective limitations of navigating day-to-day reality.

This invitation is enforced through immersive stage-like sets and props paired with canvas images that serve as backdrops. You can view the pieces from all angles, constantly exposing new connections. The separate parts of the installation make up a larger immersive whole. The reformation of materials reflects intense feelings of limitation and constraint within our preconceived notions of reality in today’s society. Things aren’t quite what they seem to be, the world as we know it doesn’t need to make sense. Rules are meant to be bent, new ideas need to be practiced and then we will find ourselves able to confront the facade of our human experience.

While experiencing Optical Delusion, we’re asked to revel in the possibility of restructuring our own mental thought patterns and to ask deeper questions about our visual surroundings. The work offers the audience access to the exclusive experimental vistas and the landscape-like paintings paired with them. Dioramas of motels are set against bright atmospheres of space. Two-dimensional images spill into three-dimensional space as cliffs, plateaus, voids and doorways. The doorways lead you to unrecognizable destinations. These alternative spaces appear as mysterious visual balancing acts calling upon ideas of human mental and cultural reorientation of perception. Humans have the ability to set their own stage, looking at things from new angles can evoke new senses of direction actively affecting how we navigate new concepts of space and structure in our day-to-day lives.

Optical Delusion will have its public opening reception August 17, from 5:00pm to 9:00pm in Survival Kit Gallery on the third floor of West 78th Street Studios in Cleveland. On September 14, the gallery is holding a special event and hosting a concert for bands Waxahatchee, Night Shop and Anna St. Louis. Tickets for this event are $18; doors open at 8:00pm and show starts at 9:00pm. Survival Kit Gallery and Optical Delusion will again be open to the public for viewing on September 21 during Third Friday, from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. The closing reception for Optical Delusion will take place October 19 from 5:00pm to 9:00pm.