Mary Temple: Extended AfternoonOctober 16, 2005 —August 6, 2006
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum presented Extended Afternoon a three phase installation by Mary Temple, from October 2005 to August 2006. Visitors to the Museum noticed an intense shaft of light that worked its way through the Museum over the course of several months, much the way the light of the late afternoon moves across a room. Close observation revealed that these passages of light were in fact trompe l'oeil paintings of light falling across interior and exterior walls. Temple asked the viewer to trace the light as it began outside the Museum on the Northwest corner (phase 1) and moved inside and through the galleries bisecting the space diagonally with passages of light that hit walls and corners (phase II). And finally, in phase 3, a beam of "light" found its way to the furthest reaches of the Museum, raked down the wall and pooled on the floor plane of the lower gallery. The hardwood floor in this the gallery was flooded with light and shadow, giving form to the shard that had traversed the Museum.
Architecture and light play key roles in much of Temple's work, as does the role of memory, evident in this project, in which she asked viewers to draw upon their understanding and experience of light intersecting space. The practice of painting an illusion in a credible but ultimately impossible situation interests her because it questions basic perceptual faith, bringing into doubt our reliability in interpreting the environment. How much do we take on faith?
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