Hirona Matsuda and Alan Jackson skip the canvas with Wall Line 

Writing on the wall

Saying that there’s a new art exhibit at the Jericho Arts gallery might be a bit misleading. What collaborating artists Hirona Matsuda and Alan Jackson have actually done is transform Jericho Arts into an installation. Titled Wall Line, the exhibit from Matsuda, a found-object artist, and Jackson, an architect, combines a site-specific installation with 30 singular pieces to create an animated overlap of patterns, modeling, and draftsmanship.  Given the keys to the gallery and two weeks to design and complete their creation, Jackson has painstakingly rendered intricate and symbol-heavy drawings on the walls of the 1,000 square-foot space, while Matsuda has adorned them with thread, pins, and various other materials. The process was documented using time-lapse video, and people passing by the studio’s West Ashley location were able to look through the windows as the installation progressed. “They’re both very meticulous in their process, but they make things in different ways,” says Jericho Arts Gallery’s coordinator, Megan Schaeffer. “So it’s very cool to see what they’ve made together.” Since Jericho Arts is housed in the same building as Jericho Advisors, a financial practice (Jericho Advisors founder Josh Silverman is a patron of the arts, and has always hosted visual arts shows in his offices) Matsuda and Jackson worked at night and on weekends to create Wall Line. “It’s fascinating,” Schaeffer says. “They’ve gotten to know this space, and they’ve been here so much that it’s almost like a residency.” In fact, the piece has become so large that Schaeffer says it’s a bit overwhelming. “It’s all-encompassing,” she says. “They’ve drawn directly on the walls, so when you’re looking at it, it’s almost confusing until you get close to the wall and see that the drawings start from where you walk in and go into the corners.” Matsuda says she was excited both by the possibilities of the space at Jericho Arts and the idea of collaborating with Jackson on such a massive project. “Alan and I met seven or eight years ago, but we’ve never done a big project like this before,” she says. The installation was inspired by the artists’ visit to Irish artist Mark Garry’s We Cast Shadows exhibit at the City Gallery in 2014. “We really enjoyed what Mark did,” Matsuda says. “I remember Alan and I were looking at a wall drawing Mark did, and I could see the wheels turning in Alan’s head. So we began to think about ways to work together on a large scale.  Josh Silverman and Megan were very supportive of our ideas when we approached them, and knowing that we had a space was the first step. Then it became an exciting challenge for us to use it as best we could.” The installation incorporates both wall drawings and individual hanging pieces, all of which Matsuda says can be enjoyed individually or as parts of a larger work. “Even the small wall-hanging pieces are made to fit an exact position on the wall,” she says. “It’s almost like a giant architectural puzzle.” Allowing passersby to watch the installation’s progress was an important part of the process for both the artists and the gallery. “At night especially, you can see everything from the street,” Schaeffer says. “It’s like a fishbowl. People were just walking in, and they were mostly people who don’t frequent galleries very often. They just saw that something cool was happening and wanted to know what we were doing. It’s been really educational in that respect. People were invited to come in and talk to the artists at any point, and what’s a better education than that? You didn’t have to go to some stuffy lecture; you got to just come in and ask questions.” “I think it’s always nice to give people the chance to see a work in progress,” says Matsuda. “When an audience understands how the work was created, they automatically have a closer relationship to it. Letting people see a project at various stages of development lets them take it in gradually and bit by bit. Then when it’s all pieced together, they have a greater understanding of how it all fits.” And the audience participation doesn’t stop at asking questions. Matsuda says that, in addition to dropping in and checking out the installation, people are more than welcome to make their own contributions. “The enormity of the project has actually allowed us to invite the public to come help us fill the space by making their marks on the wall,” she says. “The more hands, the better.”

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