an island as it might be physically expands Moorhead’s design and architectural explorations offering nature back to itself. The piece re-orients and abstracts an ornamental ballroom ceiling 180 degrees so that it lies on the floor; its regularity decaying while its landscape-like qualities grow. Devoid of all expected color, the eerie environment, at once artificial and organic, retains only vestiges of a once-celebratory spirit.
The gallery is disorientingly filled with a low platform painted the same white as the walls. The decorative vegetal and floral abstractions that would normally hang symmetrically above instead emerge from the floor. Mounds of plaster become hills, medallions turn into roots, moldings rupture, and illuminated chandeliers become trees. The artist has amplified the room’s air conditioner, which stimulates airflow, into a whispering sound piece that further brings the outdoors in.
Nature and artifice quietly struggle throughout. Raking sunlight duals with glowing bulbs, cast structures become topographies, ambient mechanized hums contrast with gentle winds, and raw and worked plaster get equal billing.
The ambiguous atmosphere of an island as it might be continues Moorhead’s inquiry into contemporary negotiations of the wild and the tame. In keeping with past projects, it is at once fantastical and respectful—both physically and psychologically reserved and expansive.