STATE OF WORRY by Sheila Pickett
Exhibition runs October 9 to November 8

Beverly Rayner’s new work at Braunstein/Quay Gallery, in San Francisco, continues to consider the psychological state of humans. This work thematically visits the state of worry in a world under constant surveillance. Opening the day after the recent 936 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average lent a strange poignancy to the work. Rayner, however is not concerned with the stock market or the mundane, but rather that general malaise or unease characteristic of contemporary existence. And as always, she knows how to delight the imagination.

Rayner’s past work has concerned itself with memory, regret, retinal memory, beliefs, loss, symbols, etc, the accumulations of living. In totality, the accumulation describes man’s existential condition. An old medicine chest, rusty wire, old photographs of faces, clouds, beaches, and water are examples of materials and imagery used to bring a state of being to mind. These materials are the detritus of living.

In her new work Rayner depicts the ever present eyes of the world upon us: the never ending collecting of data through the internet, its wide ranging geographical locations, the constancy of our connection with this and the resulting sense of being under surveillance.

In Compound Eye, a small circular volume of hooded eyes are contained in the center of a metal ring about 10 inches in diameter. The eyes vary in size and color and depth, but all are looking at something. Some look straight forward, others to the side. All appear to be watching. (These eyes are paying attention!)

Information Gathering Organism, another circular piece comprised of jute webbing wound around a center core and contained within a metal rim has seven glass lenses (eyeballs) wandering on the end of various lengths of elastic cords. They appear to be sweeping the landscape for information. Each lens is covered (disguised?) with a sheer white fabric.

A related large wall piece, Surveillance Apparatus, Infiltration Network Cell, is reminiscent of an octopus with eyes at end of each of its extended seven tentacles.

Web of Surveillance incorporates an old louvered glass window, photographs, monofilament and again the ever-watching eyes (glass lenses). Looking through the window is like looking into a universe of surveillance. The eyes are ubiquitous and they look back at us.

Other pieces address the geographical inclusiveness of Rayner’s concerns. A globe entitled G.O.O.G.L.E. (Global Observation Organism Gathers Limitless Exposure of Earth) utilizes photographs of eyes to emphasis the land masses of the world. There is also a map entitled Homeland Insecurity Blanket (Crazy Quilt) composed of torn paper security envelopes, homegrown fabric and digital prints of those all-seeing eyes.

The show is up through November 8. Braunstein/Quay is located at 430 Clementina Street between 5th and 6th Streets in San Francisco. Street parking is usually available.

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