I like to think of myself as someone who pays particular attention to seemingly everyday objects, as I’m sure many artistic types do. It wasn’t until viewing Juana Romero’s Overhaul that I began to reconsider my attentiveness. She has taken objects from the everyday, the disposable or “unimportant” and created a visual experience that surpasses the imagination. These objects that could be considered trash by many, have been transformed into new compositions that entice you to study and interpret their complexities.
They have been touched, not only by the artist, but by our eyes as they follow the intricate lines of form and shadow to create a labyrinth of visual pleasure. They are no longer just found objects, but have come together to create an intoxicating visual narrative. Elastic cord tendrils wrap around the legs of a robust tripod and connect to the lush reflective surface of sequin fabric, as a transparent plastic tapestry creates a beautiful melting shadow of color across the room. DVD cases are caught mid-flight above our heads and we are witness to a superman mask’s light vision.
These descriptions may seem strange, or unattainable to grasp just from reading. This is because Juana Romero’s Overhaul must be experienced in person. When you stand in the large exhibition area, it feels as though time has stopped. Throughout the show, heavy objects seem weightless, while what weighs next to nothing seems to acquire this density formerly unknown to it.
There is a type of suspension that a person rarely comes across. This tension, this vibration is special. When you look at sheet music, there is a symbol between notes to represent silence; this is called a rest. A rest appears between the notes of music to signal “don’ t play or sing at this beat.” The anxiety of anticipation builds during this rest as the musician prepares for the next note, ironic since it is supposedly a “rest.” Juana has created the visual equivalent to a rest. The objects never move, but are constantly charged with the silent energy around them. This energy spurs projections of interpretations customized to every individual.
Juana has lived with these objects, her touch has given them a breath of new life so that we may carefully consider what they mean to us and what we can learn from them.