Duet Exhibit Opening Saturday Features Yamini Nayar and Jerry Monteith

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

The new Duet Gallery in Grand Center kicks off its second exhibit with works by Yamini Nayar and Jerry Monteith, whose works “explore the vertigo-inducing ecstasy of dramatic scale shifts.” Duet Gallery, located at 3526 Washington Ave., Suite 300, seeks to compare and contrast the work of a local artist with an artist from another city to explore the way cultural landscape influences artists. The exhibit opens Saturday, March 29 with a reception from 6pm-9pm and runs through May 31.

Previous work by Nayar -  "Staircase" Courtesy of the Artist

Previous work by Nayar – “Staircase”
Courtesy of the Artist

Yamini Nayar—who has shown extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, been written up in the N.Y. Times and other national publications, and is a recipient of a 2014 Art Matters grant—is a photographer whose work deals in sharp angles, geometric shapes and bizarre constructions. Much of her work pictures a thing or place that is vaguely familiar, but its identification hovers just out of the grasp of identification. Her subjects don’t reveal themselves easily.

Some of Nayar’s work is cold and lonely, and imparts a feeling of trepidation, while others create an anticipatory excitement; the viewer wants to move in for a closer examination of this thing in the photo, a busy collection of metal pieces and fragments, like a child looking up into a guts of a metal playground rocket ship. Rooms become boxes (or do boxes become rooms?) In Nayar’s world it’s hard to tell. She constructs much of what she photographs, so she’s a sculptor, but foremost a photographer. Afterward, when her akimbo image is committed to photo paper, the sculpture ceases to exist, but the photo remains.

Previous work by Jerry Monteith - "Trick Pony" Wood Scupture Courtesy of the Artist

Previous work by Jerry Monteith – “Trick Pony”
Wood Scupture
Courtesy of the Artist

The featured local artist is Jerry Monteith, head of graduate studies in the School of Art and Design and professor of sculpture at SIU, who often works with large-scale constructions and installations. Monteith’s pieces invite interaction with the viewer. “Glizzand,” one of his first works, was a stair-like sculpture made of wood and steel that was fully intended to have people sit on it. Similarly, “Trick Pony,” one of a fantasy series consisting of sculptures crafted from highly burnished Maple tree limbs, begged to be touched; to feel the smooth, glossy surface of a finely buffed piece of quality wood. Whatever pieces of Monteith’s work will be included in the Duet exhibit, expect to be drawn in.

The Duet exhibit featuring Yamini Nayar and Jerry Monteith opens April 29 and runs through May 31. For more information, visit The Duet website.

Follow Christopher Reilly on Twitter @ChristoReilly

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