|All images courtesy Future Studio Gallery|
... a sodden logbook, and so on. It's a tour de force of deceptive ingenuity and legerdemain. You'd swear the tire is made of actual decomposing rubber...
... the fuselage and the visible remaining engine parts of metal. No. It's all illusion, crafted with enough skill to fool both eye and mind. You go up really, really close and you still can't tell that this torn metal fragment is actually a piece of paper.
Von Clapp's installation intrigues the viewer at a variety of levels. The artist teases us optically, of course, but also challenges the obsession with mystery and celebrity that drives the unending search for Earhart's plane. He plays with questions of historical truth and our perception of reality, the way we view, and reconstruct our history, and bestow mythic stature on our heroes. In the absurdist tradition, he seamlessly blends tragedy and sly humor; we can't help but smile at his trickery. His meticulous reconstruction is also an act of love, an homage to the woman whose feisty and indomitable courage is a reminder that the spirit of adventure and the embrace of danger are not the exclusive territory of men.
It's a remarkable achievement, and one that merits the trek to a less-than-familiar part of town. We art folk tend to travel familiar paths, and too often miss what calls out to be seen. We tend to look for the familiar names, and tend to pass over the ones that are less familiar or unknown to us. Too bad. We're the losers for it.
Meantime, kudos to Dan Van Clapp for a show that shouldn't be missed. I'm only surprised that he didn't create the famous aviator's earthly remains. But perhaps that's something best left to the imagination.