A touch of domesticity goes a long way. Milwaukee artist Jessica Meuninck-Ganger questions the formality, sterility, impersonality of the white cube in Inbound East at The Alice Wilds in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighbor.
The exhibition is a combination of prints and large-scale installation that emerge from Meuninck-Ganger’s walks around Milwaukee. A light (prussian) blue wall softens the harsh lighting of gallery, transforming the viewers experience from looking to meandering. Enveloped in this blueness, my eyes may roam the walls, following Meuninck-Ganger’s path of prints, walking with her from 71st street toward Lake Michigan. This route mimics tree branches growing over the gallery walls.
Meuninck-Ganger’s installation is quick to remind me that I am inside (in a gallery) and not outside walking or waiting under a tree. An installation piece sprouts from an outlet while another springs from the floor. This miniature skyline is dwarfed by the soaring blue wall.
The play of interiority and exteriority allows me to move out of the work and into myself as I consider the details of the exhibition. A ramshackle fence, feathered, floats away from a fieldstone wall; fragile buildings emerge from a pile of timbers. All are bits of screen-printed paper mounted on light blue board.
My meandering leads me to Sebald’s seminal writing The Rings of Saturn. Is “the narrative in question...aimed at creating a new reality, in the course of time, by way of the unreal”? Meuninck-Ganger, like Sebald, uses the narrative of the walk, inverts inside and outside, and destabilizes the grid. Inward Bound plays with interiority and exteriority, and like Sebald’s Somerleyton, “transitions from interiors to exterior….open(s) the interior onto the outside, and inside the landscape [is] replicated on the mirror walls...on the slopes of man-made mountains, between banks and spinneys...and the whole incomprehensible glory of Nature and of the wonders placed in it by the hand of [wo]man [are] reflected in...unruffled waters.”
In the end, Meuninck-Ganger’s exteriors become interiors, my interior becomes exterior, and as I leave, I am inward bound.