Michael Velliquette’s project at ArtPace is an explosion of color and material. With the ü in the i he has created an intense physical atmosphere that overflows with repeated visual motifs that enchant the eyes while moving forward his long-standing investigation of Self and the cosmos.
Velliquette has made a space within a space, constructing an enormous cardboard box inside of what would otherwise be a white, three-walled gallery. Like the closet in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a doorway in into the space serves as the threshold beyond which lies another reality.
The viewer discovers the land by walking on a path of plastic tarps covering the floor. The road leads over a small bridge, toward a cave, and to a giant hand-shaped pillow lying on the floor. Passed along the way are neon pink and yellow sine waves, sunny rainbows of colored tape, watery cascades of blue plastic, and anonymous, double-sided profiles cut out of galaxy-printed paper.
Compounding the sense of a person exploring the past, present, future, and the world beyond, is the overwhelming presence of outstretched, searching fingers. From each corner hangs a six-foot cardboard hand punctuated by a planetary mobile. Giant palms reach out of the walls, and an enormous pair of inquiring eyes probe the space for answers.
The multitude of elements in the ü in the i encourages an acute awareness of one’s place in the universe. It is a mysteriously ordered disorder—a potent metaphor for the rhythms of life on this planet, and perhaps what lies beyond.