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Monday, April 25, 2011

Genius Touch at Lynden Sculpture Garden

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A cold April rain peppers the Lynden Sculpture Garden at 2145 W. Brown Deer Road. The sculpture-studded acres and the gracious galleries perhaps were anticipating the April 17 arrival of "Drams, Whits, Scintillas," an interactive multimedia installation brought to fruition (through June 5) by local artist/educators Lynn Tomaszewski and Kevin Schlei.

The point of this adventure is to bring the outside in, and the inside out. It's postmodern minimalism, thoughtful, stark and marvelous: a bit of this, a byte of that. The rain was barely there as I stood outside with the two, drawn into the drama of Tony Smith's black slabs ringed with four speakers hanging on shepherd hooks. The sounds came forth, composed by Schlei, a founding member of the Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra. The subtle sensations seemingly emanating from the slabs reminded me of thrums and hums from the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Schlei remarked was a favorite film.

Inside the main house, bits and pieces of his composition intermingled with the black/white/gray images projected on the west wall. Conceived via computer code by Tomaszewski, a MIAD art educator, her birds, mere flecks in time (or one could say "time itself") soared and swooped, were there and then not there. Small, ghostly images of Homo sapiens morphed from the mix to pose the silent question: Where do we fit into the scheme of things? On the opposite wall, a postmodernist grouping of her ink on paper images culled from the Internet completes her concepts.

The garden's executive director, Polly Morris, has effectively given viewers an exhibition to rave about—and think about. It's a cooperative effort in a world that needs more of the same. If you want to be an early bird, meet at the garden at 8 a.m. on May 1 to join the artists in a bird-watching expedition. Mother Nature does not use pixels.