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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Fine Arts

‘D-17’ exhibition opens at Rice Gallery

Sarah Oppenheimer’s D-17 exhibit opened Thursday evening at Rice University’s Gallery.

The project was a massive undertaking that required a year and a half in planning. Two pieces of glass had to be cut through with an intense installation process; it is certainly an exhibition worth exploring.

Oppenheimer gave a brief talk at as the official opener to D-17 where she spoke on the critical importance of the subtle changes lighting creates as rays pass through the building and along the immense installation.

This piece needs to be seen as there is no way to completely describe the experience of standing in front of it to witness the transitional effects of light. People should experience this and support the great art Houston has to offer.

D-17 takes up the far left corner of the Rice Gallery. It begins at a sharp tip on the floor and, from there, begins its dramatic upward slants toward the ceiling, rising through the gallery’s glass walls and into the foyer.

Her piece is ever present, something with which each viewer can have a close, personal interaction. This is what makes the art come alive.

Light changes and a close observance of these changes is a necessity if one is to begin to fully see and appreciate the work that has been created. Manipulation of sight and perception play a central role as one of the most interesting and thought-provoking parts of the piece as one attempts to understand D-17.

If a viewer stands at a point on the left side of the gallery and looks outward toward the foyer, the viewer would see sky and trees.

Oppenheimer’s use of the reflectivity of the glass, which acts as a mirror, permits the same view to be seen from an entirely different point located in the foyer looking through the glass back into the main gallery space.

Speaking with Oppenheimer one-on-one brought the piece into closer perspective, as it was very evident her passion toward her methods of creation and installation fully emerge in the finished project and her discussion of it. A question posed to her was: “How do you define a successful work or exhibition?”

Her response centered around two points: self-confidence and the contagious belief of the audience toward the artist and her potential for creation. Within her opening remarks, she said she was grateful to Rice University and the gallery for their very willing cooperation since this project could be considered “an extremely eccentric proposal” .

This comment ties in with her statements on self-confidence and the contagious effect it has on an audience because without her vision and assurance, and of course well-established understanding that she is capable of such a project, a gallery might not be so inclined to assist so willingly.

Her attitude toward the work was encouraging to see, because the fascination and excitement of the artist so clearly spills over into the atmosphere of the audience.

D-17 runs through Dec. 5.

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