First I want to say how much I loved both of these exhibitions. There was at least one piece from each artist that I thought was delightfully conceived, designed, and created. So yeah, thanks for that.
MFA, Ben Garthus:
What I appreciated most about Ben's work was that it highlighted the human connection between the artist and participant as something truly native, genuine and kinetic. In this respect the objects (cart, human hoop...) aptly represent Ben's art as gesture and intention. It was also clear that these objects are mere archives of a larger experience. Though they're delightfully designed and masterfully constructed, they only play a incidental role in the overall experience. This reality is further evinced by the video footage, itself a mere archive, albeit one that is fun and effectively representative. I yearned to experience these objects at work in the "outside" world, not fetishized in a gallery. After all, if these devices are an extension of the artist's invitation to be creative and interact on a genuinely kinetic level, where is the artist himself? Obviously not in a galley, but in the world, where he belongs, acting as a creative force. The obvious irony here is that these realizations all occurred while observing, not interacting, as a well-behaved gallery geek.
HA13's exhibition evinced a clear intersection and layering of sociopolitical space at the level of geometry and color. The pseudo-print-style paintings were an effective 2D (literally and stylistically) context for the two-way intersection of politics and satire. The use of grey and red, however, pulled me into another conceptual direction altogether, as if Teroy (sorry, ahem, HA13) is nudging me to "read between the lines" of superficial sociopolitical relationships. This use of grey is mirrored--quite literally--on the opposite side of the gallery space, where a network cubist objects cast crisp shadows on the gallery surface. I loved the energy this brought to my overall experience. This is brought about through the motion of additive dementionality beginning at the 2D paintings, then to the 3D cubist objects on the wall, and finally to the 4D (time via motion) nature of the dangling box. It was a beautifully simple and transparent continuity of media. (On the other hand, I have no idea what was intended by the flower pot in the corner.)
This intersection of space, concept and dimention is additionally amplified, knowing that HA13 is also Teroy. Perhaps the use of an alias is a respectful bow to his roots as a DJ and graffiti artist, but I felt it communicated something deeper--it poised the Teroy's self-awareness as an intermediary between himself and his art, clearly reflecting his concerns with modes of creativity in the world, especially as it concerns his awareness of categorization and tradition (hip-hop, graffiti, cubism, etc.) In doing this, he has himself become his own 2D self portrait.