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Review: C. Thomas Lewis's From Now On 

***1/2
click to enlarge C. Thomas Lewis's From Now On is up through the month at Gallery 924.
  • C. Thomas Lewis's From Now On is up through the month at Gallery 924.

Who can deny that the same contraptions and widgets that enable engineers and artists alike to pursue their ostensibly innocent happinesses are - depending on how much energy they use - accelerating the pace of climate change?

Of all of C. Thomas Lewis's "video mapping" installations in From Now On, the one that best addresses this tradeoff is also the largest and most compelling in this show. Taking up an entire wall of the Gallery 924 space, the projection shows a plethora of spinning gears morphing into images of suburbia and farmland as seen from above. You also can see the gears morphing into images of flooded land and heavy weather over the course of half an hour.

I admire the technical know-how married to imagination that motivates Lewis's installations, which include a tree which died in last year's drought. The tree is said to offer hope, coming alive with "moving imagery" projected upon it, according to Gallery 924's text describing this exhibit. But I didn't find it particularly hopeful; the installation featuring the morphing gears was just too powerful in its causal linkage of human activity with Global Warming for a smaller installation like the projected-on tree to have much resonance with me. And besides, no matter how much colorful light is projected onto such a tree, that tree will remain dead.

One thing is clear: This isn't art for art's sake. And another thing: The show didn't tell me anything I didn't already know about climate change. But it's to the artist's credit that his installation spends less time providing easy answers than provoking questions.

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