Tripping on New Work: Elyse-Krista Mische & Craig Clifford

Sometimes I am hit so hard with excitement about someone's artwork that it sends me on a crippling trip of disbelief and complete wonder. Once I'm able to get a grip and grab hold of reality once again, I try to understand why I was so moved to begin with. Many times small phrases pass in and out of my head like some news ticker flashing important updates to current, breaking events.

When Craig Clifford and Elyse-Krista Mische began installing their work at the gallery, I wasn't expecting to face memories that had been tossed aside and discarded to make room for more important matters.

Two and a half years ago I began to question this existence and wonder what the point of life was. I questioned why people must come into our lives if they only exit as quickly as they came. I questioned what time meant and how life was of any significance if death was just sitting there waiting. I questioned what death meant and grieved its responsibility. I resented the celebration of life and the accountability to be present and selfless that went along with it. Realization of the fragility and mortality of a loved one made me so aware of human selfishness. Above all else, I did not want to experience loss - as I know NO ONE does.

Elyse-Krista Mische's work seemed to gently soothe me into a pool of inevitability where I found that I cannot escape the reality of my short existence. Her work quietly reassured me into acceptance of the temporary, fleeting moments that make up a lifetime, yet there still remains a tangle of contradictory emotions in the pit of my stomach; a knot that I don't know I'll ever be able to untie.

Elyse's work coupled with the likes of Craig Clifford whose nonchalant and seemingly effortless demeanor and work make it almost unbearingly easy to instantly like, I stood no chance at keeping my emotions and memories at bay. I was transfixed immediately with the surface qualities of his work: familiar, busy, almost brooding and dark.

I remember going to my grandparent's house frequently when I was little. It was right on the shore of Lake Michigan, though that is not of any real significance for this memory. As an only child, I did a lot of solitary exploring, observing and reflecting. I uncovered a pile of someone's trash once. It was covered by layers of sediment, moss and damp leaves with bugs and crawling things. I remember feeling both intense curiosity and fear. The trash was an assortment of plastic bags, bottles, cans, broken baby toys and diapers and although it was discarded, I felt that it had to be of some importance if it was buried out in the woods and not just on the side of the road or in a ditch somewhere. It made me feel alone.

Craig's work resonates with my memory and my tendency to protest the necessity of material goods and familial, sentimental decor. His work is thoughtfully arranged and I can't help but feel his use of commercial molds hold sarcasm and a level of mockery to the cosmetic beauty of an older American ideal. In his words these objects "are images of refinement and wealth..." The images seem bullied, beaten and bruised.

I am excited to be around this work for the next two months and to see what other memories and feelings resurface. I hope those who visit and view the work in person experience something intimate with the work as well.